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Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine 

Cummir I of Veterinary Medicine at 

Tufts. Un 

200 \ noad 

North Grafton, MA 01536 



Sketches of Sport 








It is scarcely necessary nowadays to offer an 
apology for sport, with its entrancing excite- 
ment, its infinite variety of joys and interests. 
Women cheerfully share with men, hardships, 
toil and endurance, climb mountains, sail on 
the seas, face wind and rain and the chill 
gusts of winter, as unconcernedly as they 
once followed their quiet occupations by their 
firesides. The feverish life of cities too, with 
its enervating pleasures, is forgotten and 
neglected for the witchery of legitimate 
sport, which need not be slaughter or cruelty. 
Women who prefer exercise and liberty, who 
revel in the cool sea breeze, and love to feel 
the fresh mountain air fanning their cheeks 

v Preface. 

who are afraid neither of a little fatigue nor 
of a little exertion, are the better, the truer, 
and the healthier, and can yet remain essen- 
tially feminine in their thoughts and manners. 
They may even by their presence refine the 
coarser ways of men, and contribute to the 
gradual disuse of bad language in the hunting- 
field, and to the adoption of a habit of courtesy 
and kindness. The duties of the wife of the 
M.F.H. fully bear out this view. 

When women prove bright and cheerful 
companions, they add to the man's enjoy- 
ment and to the enlarging of their own 
practical interests. When, in addition, they 
endeavour to love Nature in her serenest and 
grandest moods, to snatch from her mighty 
bosom some secrets of her being, to study 
sympathetically the habits of birds, beasts 
and flowers, and to practise patience, skill, 
ingenuity and self-reliance, they have learnt 
valuable lessons of life. 

Preface. v 

Lastly, in the words of a true lover of art : 
" The sportsman who walked through the 
turnip fields, thinking of nothing but his dog 
and his gun, has been drinking in the love of 
beauty at every pore of his invigorated frame, 
as, from each new tint of autumn, from every 
misty September morning, from each variety 
of fleeting cloud, each flash of light from 
distant spire or stream, the unnoticed in- 
fluence stole over him like a breeze, bring- 
ing health from pleasant places, and made 
him capable of clearer thoughts and happier 

Violet Greville. 

C N T E N T S. 

Riding in Ireland and India. 

By the Lady Grevillc. 

Hunting in the Shires. 

Horses and Their Riders. 

By The Duchess of Newcastle. 

The Wife of the M. F. H. 

By Mrs Chaworih Musters. 

Fox-Hunting. .... 

Team and Tandem Driving. . 

By Miss Rosie Anstruthcr Thomson 

Tigers I have Shot. . 

By Mrs C. Martclli. 


By Miss Leale. 

Deer-Stalking and Deer-Driving. . 

By Diane Chasscresse. 

Covert Shooting. 

By Lady Boynton. 

A Kangaroo Hunt. 

By Mrs Jenkins. 

Cycling. ..... 

By Mrs E. R. Penncll. 

Punting. .... 

By Miss Sybil Salaman. 














By the Lady Greville. 

Of all the exercises indulged in by men 
and women, riding is perhaps the most pro- 
ductive of harmless pleasure. The healthful, 
exhilarating feeling caused by rapid motion 
through the air, and the sense of power 
conveyed by the easy gallop of a good 
horse, tends greatly to moral and physical 
well-being and satisfaction. Eiding improves 
the temper, the spirits and the appetite ; 
black shadows and morbid fancies disappear 
from the mental horizon, and wretched in- 
deed must he be who can preserve a gloomy 
or discontented frame of mind during a fine 
run in a grass country, or even in a sharp, 

brisk gallop over turfy downs. Such being 


4 Ladies in the Field. 

the case, no wonder that the numbers of 
horsemen increase every clay, and that the 
hunting field, from the select company of 
a few country squires and hard-riding young 
men, has developed into an unruly mob of 
people, who ride over the hounds, crush 
together in the gateways, and follow like a 
flock of sheep through the gaps and over the 
fences, negotiated by more skilful or cour- 
ageous sportsmen. Women, too, have rushed 
in where their mothers feared to tread. 
Little girls on ponies may be seen holding 
their own nobly out hunting, while Hyde 
Park, during the season, is filled with fair, 
fresh-looking girls in straw hats, covert coats 
and shirts, driving away the cobwebs of dis- 
sipation and the deleterious effects of hot 
rooms by a mild canter in the early morning. 
Unfortunately, though a woman never looks 
better than on horseback, when she hnotvs 
how to ride, the specimens one often en- 
counters riding crookedly, all one side, to the 
inevitable detriment of the horse's back, 
bumping on the saddle like a sack of potatoes, 
or holding on with convulsive effort to the 

Riding in Ireland and India. 5 

horse's mouth, are sufficient to create a holy 
horror in the minds of reasonable spectators. 
Park-riding is not difficult compared with 
cross-country riding, yet how seldom do you 
see it perfect ? To begin with, a certain 
amount of horsemanship is absolutely neces- 
sary. There must be art, and the grace 
that conceals art ; there must be self-posses- 
sion, quiet, and a thorough knowledge of the 
horse you are riding. Take, for instance, a 
fresh young hunter into the park for the first 
time. He shies at the homely perambulator, 
starts at the sound of cantering hoofs, is terri- 
fied by a water-cart, maddened by the strains 
of the regimental band, or the firing of the 
guards at their matutinal drill, and finally 
attempts to bolt or turn round as other 
horses, careering along, meet and pass him in 
a straggling gallop. If he backs, rears, kicks, 
shies and stops short, or wheels round sud- 
denly, with ears thrown back, his rider need 
not be surprised. Horses cantering in every 
direction disturb, distress and puzzle him. 
On which side are the hounds ? he wonders. 
Why does not his rider extend him ? Where 

6 Ladies in the Field. 

are the fences, and when will the fan begin ? 
These, no doubt, are some of the thoughts 
that pass through a well-bred hunter's mind, 
for that horses do reason in their own peculiar 
fashion I am convinced, and that they fully 
recognise the touch and voice of the master, 
no one can doubt who has noticed the differ- 
ence in the behaviour of a hunter when 
ridden by different persons. If the park 
rider wishes for a pleasant conveyance I 
should strongly recommend a hack, neither a 
polo pony nor a cob. But where, oh where, 
are perfect hacks to be found ? They should 
be handsome, well-bred, not quite thorough- 
bred, about 15*3, with fine shoulders, good 
action, and, above all, perfect mouth and 
manners. No Irish horse has manners, as a 
rule, until he comes to England, or has the 
slightest idea of bending and holding himself, 
owing to the fact of his being usually broken 
and ridden in a snaffle bridle. This practice 
has its uses, notably in that it makes the 
horses bold fencers, and teaches them not to 
be afraid of facing the bit, but it is not con- 
ducive to the development of a park hack, 

Riding in Ireland and India. J 

which should be able to canter round a 
sixpence. I remember in my young days 
seeing Mr Mackenzie Greaves and Lord Cardi- 
gan riding in the park, the latter mounted 
on a beautiful chesnut horse, which cantered 
at the slowest and easiest of paces, the real 
proverbial arm-chair, with a beautifully arched 
neck, champing proudly at the bit, yet really 
guided as by a silken thread. That was a 
perfect hack, and would probably fetch now- 
a-days four or five hundred guineas. No lady 
ought to ride (if she wishes to look well) on 
anything else. Men may bestride polo ponies, 
or clatter lumberingly along on chargers, or 
exercise steeple-chase horses with their heads 
in the air, yawing at a snaffie ; but, if a 
woman wants to show off her figure and her 
seat she should have a perfect hack, not too 
small, with a good forehand, nice action, and, 
above all, a good walker, one that neither 
fidgets nor shuffles nor breaks into a trot. 

Bitting is, as a rule, not sufficiently con- 
sidered. In the park, a light, double bridle, 
or what they call in Ireland a Ward bit, is 
the best, and no martingale should be required. 

8 Ladies in the Field. 

People often wonder why a horse does not 
carry his head in the right place. Generally, 
unless the horse is unfortunately shaped, this 
is the fault of the bit, sometimes it is too 
severe, or too narrow, which frets and irritates 
the horse's mouth. A horse with a very 
tender mouth will stand only the lightest of 
bits, and is what they call a snaffle-bridle 
horse, not always the pleasantest of mouths, 
at least out hunting ; for I cannot think 
that a lady can really ever hold a horse well 
together over a deep country, intersected by 
stiff fences, with a snaffle, especially if he is 
a big horse with somewhat rolling action. 
It has been said by a great authority on 
riding that no horse's mouth is good enough 
for a snaffle, and no man's hands good enough 
for a curb. I remember the late Lord Wilton, 
one of the finest cross-country riders, telling 
me to be sure never to ride my horse on the 
curb over a fence. But, as I suppose there 
s no absolute perfection in horse or man, 
each rider must, to a certain extent, judge 
for himself, and ride different horses in 
different ways. But you may be sure of 

Riding in Ireland and India. 9 

this, that the bitting of grooms is gener- 
ally too severe, and the hands of a man 
who rides all his horses in martingales, 
snaffles, and complicated arrangements of bit 
and bridle, are sure to be wrong. The matter 
practically resolves itself into hands. They, 
after all, are the chief essentials in riding. 
The " Butcher ' on horseback who tugs at 
his horse's head as if it were a bedpost, 
who loses his temper, who digs in the spurs 
incessantly, and generally has a fight with 
his horse over every fence, invariably possesses 
bad hands as well as a bad temper. I believe 
the reason that women who ride hard gener- 
ally get fewer falls than men, is to be ac- 
counted for by the fact that they leave their 
horse's head alone, do not interfere with and 
bully him, and are generally on good terms 
with their mounts. For this reason I dis- 
approve strongly of women riding with spurs, 
and think that in most cases men would 
be better without them. I had a personal 
experience of this once, when I one day lent 
a very clever hunter, who had carried me 
perfectly, to the huntsman. He rode her 

to Ladies in the Field. 

with spurs, she went unkindly all day and 
refused several fences, a thing I had never 
known her do before. Many men are too 
fond of looking upon horses as machines, 
ignoring their wishes and peculiarities, whereas 
the true horseman is in thorough sympathy 
with the animal he bestrides, and contrives 
by some occult influence to inspire him with 
confidence and affection. A horse, bold as a 
lion with his master on his back, may very 
often refuse with a timid, nervous or w x eak 
rider. One mun, like the late George Whyte 
Melville, can get the rawest of four-year-olds 
brilliantly over a country, while another finds 
difficulty even with an experienced hunter. 

I believe thoroughly in kindness and gentle- 
ness in stable management. I would dismiss 
at once a groom or helper who hit, or swore 
at, or knocked about a horse. Horses are 
very nervous creatures, and keenly suscep- 
tible to affection. I had once a beautiful 
chestnut hunter, quite thoroughbred, and a 
perfect picture, with a small, beautifully- 
shaped head, and large, gentle eye. He had 
evidently been fearfully ill-treated, for, if any- 

Riding in Ireland and India. 1 1 


one came near him he would shrink into the 
corner of his box, tremble violently, and 
put his ears buck from sheer nervousness. 
After a bit, seeing he was kindly treated, 
he learut to follow me like a dog. Another 
mare, who came with the reputation of a 
vicious animal, and was supposed to bite all 
those who approached her, used, after a time, 
to eat nicely from my hand, much to the 
astonishment of her late master, who saw 
me go freely into her box. No man can 
be a reallv good rider who is not fond of 

./ o 

horses, and does not care to study their 
peculiarities and tempers, and govern them 
rather by kind determination than by sheer 

A lady rider should look to her bit before 
she starts, see that the curb chain is not too 
tight, and the bit in the proper position. She 
should visit her horse daily, and feed him in 
the stable till he knows her voice as well as 
one of mine did who, on hearing it, would rise 
up on his hind legs and tr}^ to turn himself 
round in his stall whinnying with pleasure. 
And, above all, she should study her saddle. 

12 Ladies in m Jhe Field. 

Sore backs are the terrible curse of a hunting 
stable, and are generally produced by bad 
riding, hanging on to the stirrup, instead of 
rising when trotting, from the body, and sit- 
ting crooked on a badly-fitting saddle. The 
woman's seat should be a perfectly straight 
one. She should look, as she sits, exactly 
between the horse's ears, and, with the third 
pommel to give her assistance, she ought to 
maintain a perfect balance. Every lady's 
saddle should be made for her, as some 
women take longer saddles than others. The 
stuffing should be constantly seen to, and, 
while the girths are loosed, the saddle itself 
never taken off till the horse's back is cool. 
If it is a well-made saddle and does not come 
down too low on the withers, a horse should 
very rarely have a bad back. I have always 
preferred a saddle of which the seat was flat 
and, and in old days used to have mine 
stuffed a good deal at the back so as to pre- 
vent the feeling of riding uphill. Messrs 
Wilkinson k Champion now make saddles on 
that principle, on which one can sit most com- 
fortably. Numnahs I do not care for, or if 

Riding in Ireland and India. 1 3 

they are used they should only be a thin 
leather panel, well oiled, and kept soft and 

No lady should hunt till she can ride, by 
which I mean, till she can manage all sorts 
of horses, easy and difficult to ride, till she 
knows how to gallop, how to jump, and is 
capable of looking after herself. Half the 
accidents in the hunting-field occur from 
women, who can scarcely ride, being put upon 
a hunter, and, while still perfectly inexperi- 
enced, told to ride to hounds. They may have 
plenty of courage but no knowledge. Whyte 
Melville depicts pluck as " a moral quality, 
the result of education, natural self-respect 
and certain high aspirations of the intellect ; ' 
and nerve " as a gift of nature, dependent on 
the health, the circulation and the Kver. As 
memory to imagination in the student, so is 
nerve to pluck in the horseman." Women 
are remarkable for nerve, men for pluck. 
Women who ride are generally young and 
healthy. Youth is bold and inconscient of 
its danger. Yet few men or women have the 
cool courage of Jim Mason, who was seen 

14 Ladies in the Fiecd. 

galloping down a steep hill in Leicestershire, 
the reins on his horse's neck, his knife in his 
mouth, mending the lash of his whip. In fact, 
a good deal of the hard riding one sees is often 
due to what is called "jumping powder," or 
the imbibing of liqueurs and spirits. For hard 
riding, it should never be forgotten, is essen- 
tially not good riding. The fine old sportsman, 
ripened by experience, who, while quietly 
weighing the chances against him, and per- 
fectly aware of the risks he runs, is yet ready 
to face them boldly, with all the resources of 
a cool head and a wide knowledge, is on 
the high road to being a hero. These calm, 
unassuming, courageous men are those who 
make their mark on the field of battle, and to 
whom the great Duke of Wellington referred 
when he spoke of the hunting-field being the 
best school of cavalry in the world. 

Most of us want to fly before we can walk. 
This vaulting ambition accounts for the 
contemptible spectacles that occasionally 
meet our sight. A city man, who has had 
half-a-dozen riding lessons, an enriched trades- 
man, or an unsportmanlike foreigner, must 

Riding in Ireland and India. 1 5 

needs start a stud of hunters. We all re- 
member the immortal adventures of Jorrocks 
and Soapy Sponge, but how often do we see 
scenes quite as ludicrous as any depicted 
in Sartees' delightful volumes. Because 
everyone he knows goes across country, 
the novice believes fondly that he can do 
the same. He forgets that the real sports- 
man has ridden from earliest childhood; 
has taken his falls cheerfully off a pony ; 
and learned how to ride without stirrups, often 
clinging on only bareback; has watched, 
while still a little chap in knickerbockers 
or white frocks, holding tight to the obliging 
nurse's hand, some of the mysteries of the 
stable ; has seen the horses groomed and 
shod, physicked or saddled, with the keen 
curiosity and interest of childhood, and 
has grown up, as it were in the atmosphere 
of the stable. Every English boy, the son 
of a country gentleman, loves the scent of 
the hay, not perhaps poetically in the 
hay field, but practically in the manger. 
He knows the difference in the quality of 
oats, and the price of straw, the pedigree 

1 6 Ladies in the Field. 

of the colts, and the performances of the 
mares, long before he has mastered the 
intricacies of Euclid, or the diction of 
Homer. To ride is to him as natural as to 
walk, and he acquires a seat and hands as 
unconsciously as the foals learn to trot and 
jump after their mother ; and consequently, 
as riding is an art eminently necessary to be 
acquired in youth, everything is in his 
favour, when in after life the poor and plucky 
subaltern pits himself on his fifty-guinea 
screw against the city magnate riding 
his four - hundred - guinea hunter. Fortun- 
ately this is so, for riding, while entrancing 
to its votaries, is also an expensive amuse- 
ment ; yet so long as a man has a penny 
in his pocket that he can legitimately dis- 
pose of for amusement, so long would one 
wish him to spend it thus, for the moral 
qualities necessary to make a good rider are 
precisely those which have given En g] and her 
superiority in the rank of nations. The Irish 
with their ardent and enthusiastic natures, 
are essentially lovers of horses ; and an Irish 
hunter is without exception the cleverest 

Riding in Ireland and India. 1 7 

in the world. He has generally a light mouth, 
always a leg to spare, and the nimbleness 
of a deer in leaping. Apropos of the latter 
quality, I remember the answer of an Irishman 
who was selling a horse, when asked if he 
could jump, — 

" Is 't lep, ye mane, yer honour ? Well 
there never was a leper the likes of him ! ' 

" Does he feed well ? " 

" Feed, yer honour ? He'd fatten on a 
bowling alley ! " 

Hunting; in Ireland, while rougher and more 
unconventional, is certainly safer than in 
England. The fences are big, but you do not 
as a rule ride so fast at them, and are there- 
fore not so likely to get a bad fall ; in addition, 
there is rarely if ever any timber to jump. 
But against that, there are a great many 
stone walls, and nasty big black ditches, called 
drains, which are boggy and unfathomable, 
and the banks of which are rotten ; and there 
is no road riding possible, and few gates, 
while lanes are rare and far between. Never- 
theless, I believe it is the best hunting country 
for ladies. It has no big hairy fences to 


1 8 Ladies in the Field. 

scratch your face and tear your habit, and no 
ox-rails ; the country is grass and beautiful 
going ; you can ride a horse a stone lighter 
than in England, and on a good bold horse 
you can go pretty nearly straight. 

The vexed question of habits appears now 
to be one of the most serious matters, in con- 
sequence of the many accidents that have 
happened to ladies. When I began riding, we 
wore habits that tore if they caught, and, 
consequently, no one was ever hung up or 
dragged. The strong melton cloth of the 
present day does not give at all, and there- 
fore is a source of great danger if the habit 
catches on the pommel. None of the so- 
called safety habits up to the present seem 
to be absolutely satisfactory, nor any of the 
dodges of elastic or safety stirrups. Mr Scott, 
Jr., of South Molton Street, has invented the 
latest safety skirt, but this is in reality no 
habit at all, only an apron, and therefore can 
scarcely be called a skirt. One great security 
is to have no hem to the habit. Another is, 
to be a good rider (for the bad riders always 
fall on the off side, which is the reason their 

Riding in Ireland and India. 1 9 

habit catches on the crutch). The third is to 
have a habit made of tearable material ; and 
this, I believe, is the only solution of the 
question, unless ladies decide definitely to 
adopt a man's dress. Meanwhile, I would im- 
press upon all women the great danger of 
hunting, unless they are fully capable of 
managing their horses, choosing their own 
place at a fence, omitting to ride over their 
pilot, or to gallop wildly with a loose rein, 
charging every obstacle in front of them, and 
finally, unless they have some experience in 
the art of horsemanship. 

Military men possess great advantages in 
the hunting field. To begin with, they are 
taught to ride, and probably have passed 
some years in India, where the exercise is 
commonly preferred to walking. Ladies of all 
ages and figures ride there, and, no doubt, 
in so doing, preserve their health and their 
looks. There is a peculiar charm in Indian 
riding. It is indulged in in the early morn- 
ing, when the body is rested, the nerves 
strong, and the air brisk and fresh ; or at 
eventide, when the heat of the day is over, 

2o Ladies in the Field. 

and a can tor in the cool breeze seems pecu- 
liarly acceptable. How delightful are those 
early morning rides, when, after partaking of 
the refreshing cup of tea or coffee, your 
"syce" or groom brings the pawing steed to 
your door, and once in the saddle, you w T ancler 
for miles, with nothing to impede your pro- 
gress but an occasional low mud wall, or bank 
and ditch, which your horse takes in his 
stride, or a thorny " nullah," up and down 
whose steep sides you scramble. There is 
something fascinating in the seuse of space 
and liberty, the feeling that you can gallop at 
your own sweet will across a wide plain, 
pulled up by no fear of trespassing, no gates 
nor fences nor unclosed pastures with carefully 
guarded sheep and cattle, no flowery cottage 
gardens ; the wide expanse of cloudless sky 
above you, the golden plain with its sandy 
monotony stretched out in front, broken only 
by occasional clumps of mango trees, or tilled 
spaces, where the crops grow, intersected by 
small ditches, cut for the purposes of irriga- 
tion—free as a bird, you lay the reins on your 
horse's neck, and go till he or you are tired. 

Riding in Ireland and India. 2 1 


Or in northern India, on a real cold, nipping 
morning before sunrise, you gather at the 
accustomed trysting-place and hear the wel- 
come sound of the hounds' voices. A scratch 
pack, they are, perhaps, even a " Bobbery " 
pack, as the name goes in India ; but the old 
excitement is on you, the rush for a start, and 
the sense of triumphant exhilaration, as the 
hounds settle to their work, and the wretched 
little jackal, or better still, the wolf, takes his 
unchecked course over the sandy hillocks and 
the short grass. A twenty-minutes' run covers 
the horses with lather, and sets your pulses 
tingling. Presently the sun is high in the 
horizon, and its rays are beginning to make 
themselves felt. A few friendly good-byes, 
some parting words of mutual congratulation, 
and you turn to ride gently home, with a 
feeling of self-righteousness in your heart, as 
you greet the lazy sister, or wife, or brother, 
who stands in the verandah looking for your 
coming. A bath— that inestimable Indian 
luxury — a lingering toilette, and so to break- 
fast. And what a breakfast, with a lovely 
appetite to eat it. Fish, beefsteaks, cutlets, 

22 Ladies in the Field. 

the most savoury and delicate of curries, fruit 
and coffee, ought to satisfy a Sybarite. After 
which a cigarette on a lounge in the verandah 
maybe indulged in. By this time the day is only 
just begun, and you are free to fill the remain- 
ing hours with work or the claims of societv. 

Most lovers of horseflesh, seizing their sun- 
hats from the peg, sally out into the " com- 
pound " (a kind of grass enclosure with a 
few mango or tamarisk trees planted in the 
middle, the low roofs of the stables and the 
native servants' dwellings forming a back- 
ground to it), and talk that cheery rambling 
talk all true sportsmen delight in. 

The horses, some in their stalls, some 
picketed outside under the trees, are munch- 
ing large bundles of fresh green lucern (a 
kind of vetch, and a substitute for grass) ; 
while the ebon grooms, seated on their haunches 
on the ground, hold bits and bridles between 
their toes, and rub away at them with praise- 
worthy energy. On one side are the polo and 
harness ponies, the match pair which the lady 
shows you with pride ; on the other, the pony 
unbroken and savage, just bought at a fair 

Riding in Ireland and India. 23 

while beyond are two or three " whalers," 
fine sixteen -hand upstanding horses, all pro- 
nouneed excellent fencers and first-rate pig- 
stickers. The grey yonder, a compact, neat- 
looking animal, resembling an Irish hunter, 
was out this morning. Like most Australian 
horses, he is a great buck-jumper, and going 
to covert his master has some trouble in keep- 
ing a steady seat, but when settled down into 
his gallop, no mud wall is too high, no ditch 
too broad, and no day too long for him. Many 
are the prize spears he has won on hardly-con- 
tested pig-sticking expeditions. 

Then on Sunday, the clay voted to sport 
in India, merry paper chases fill an idle hour 
or two just before sunset. Any old screw, 
country-bred pony or short-shouldered Arab 
may be brought out on these occasions. The 
hard ground resounds with a noise like the dis- 
tant roll of thunder, as the line of horsemen 
clatter along, raising a cloud of dust behind 
them. Falls abound, for the pace is good, and 
the leader of the chase well mounted. 

The sugar canes rattle crisply like peas 
on a drum, as you push your way quickly 

24 Ladies in the Field. 

through the tall grass crops, which, forced 
violently asunder by your horse's progress, 
fall together again, and leave no trace of your 
passage. Down a soft, sandy lane, you canter, 
while your horse sinks in up to his fetlocks, 
past a dirty little native village, swarming 
with black children, where women in pictur- 
esque attitudes lean and chatter by the shady 
well; then over a rough, stony plain, inter- 
sected by cracks and crevices in the hard 
gaping earth, where you must pick your way 
carefully, and hold your horse together lest he 
break his leg and your neck, for (drawback of 
all in India) the ground is dreadfully hard, 
and falls do hurt. At last the chase is over, 
and your wearied beast stands with legs apart 
and nostrils heaving, trying to get his wind. 
The sun has gone down in the sudden fashion 
peculiar to tropical climes. Gloaming there is 
none, but a lovely starlight, and the clear 
rays of the moon to guide you safely on 
your way home. Buddy lights shine out 
from the native huts, sundry fires shed a 
wild lustre, the faint, sickly odour of tobacco 
and opium fills the air, and the weird 

Riding in Ireland and India. 25 

beating of a tom-tom is heard in the 

For those to whom such a wild hot scramble, 
or the long free gallop over the plains does 
not appeal, there is the pleasant ride along the 
mall under the flowering acacia trees, where 
friends meet you at every step, and your easily- 
cantering Arab, with flowing mane and tail, 
is in harmony with the picturesque Oriental 
scene. Everyone rides in India, for in many 
places it is the only means of transit. In 
Assam and Central India, where roads are bad, 
or non-existent, and the railroads are many 
miles away, it is absolutely necessary for the 
tea-planter to reach his plantations on horse- 
back, riding long distances over rough ground ; 
while the commissioner or civilian making his 
judicial rounds, or the sportsman in search of 
big game, rides his twelve or fourteen miles a 
day, camping out in the jungle at night. The 
lowest subaltern owns a pony or two, and 
rides to and from his military duties, and 
the pony may be seen led up and down in 
front of the mess house, or standing playfully 
flicking the flies off with his tail, while the 

26 Ladies in the Field. 

faithful syce, his lean brown limbs trained to 
exceeding fineness by the long distances he 
runs, squats meekly on the dusty ground, and 
calls his charge by all sorts of endearing names, 
which the animal seems perfectly to under- 
stand. Hand-iubbing, or what is vulgarly 
called " elbow grease," is much practised in 
India, and a groom attentive to his duties 
takes a pride in polishing a horse's coat till it 
is smooth and glistening as satin. Notwith- 
standing this personal care, however, Indian 
horses, especially country-breds, are not famed 
for the sweetness of their tempers, and gener- 
ally disagreeably resent their masters' at- 
tempt to mount. This has accordingly to be 
done in the most agile manner. Animals may 
be seen kicking, biting, plunging and even fly- 
ing at one another like savage dogs, with teeth 
exposed, lips drawn back, nostrils heaving and 
eyes flashing. Yet few people would exchange 
the wild, daring horsemanship of India with its 
pig-sticking and its wild game hunting, neces- 
sitating the utmost degree of nerve and 
deteimination, for the flat and unprofitable 
constitutional in Eotten Eow, the country 

Riding in Ire/and and India. 27 

ride alongr a road, or even the delights of 
fox-hunting in England. 

Kiding men, who love the sport for its own 
value, are usually sunny-tempered, kindly at 
heaic, and generously disposed. Women, who 
ride, are easy to please and unaffected ; in fact, 
what many men describe as " a good sort." In 
conclusion, my advice to girls is, to take a 
riding man for a husband, and to follow them- 
selves as far as possible all out-door pursuits 
anel amusements. Their moral qualities will 
not suffer from it, while their physique will 
gaiu considerably, for bright eyes, a clear com- 
plexion, and a slim figure are beauties never to 
be despised. 

Violet Greville. 



"There are emotions deeply seated in the 
joy of exercise, when the body is brought 
into play, and masses move in concert, of 
which the subject is but half conscious. 

"Music and dance, and the delirium of 
battle or the chase acts thus upon spontane- 
ous natures. 

" The mystery of rhythm and associated 
energy and blood-tingling in sympathy is 
here. It lies at the root of man's most 
tyrannous instinctive impulses." 

Considering that J. Addiugton Symonds was 
a permanent invalid, exiled to Davos by his 
health, he shows in this paragraph extra- 
ordinary understanding. 

Fox-hunting is not merely an idle amuse- 
ment ; it is an outlet for man's natural in- 
stincts ; a healthy way of making him active, 
and training his character. Whether it exer- 


\2 Ladies in the Field. 


cises his mental faculties in a like degree is 
another question. I do not think a man can 
be very stupid who rides well to hounds. 
The qualifying remark that "he is so per- 
fectly mounted " rather adds to his credit 
than otherwise, for, with unlimited means, 
and the best possible intention it is difficult 
in these days of competition to get together 
a stud of hunters of the right stamp. 

People vary considerably in their notions 
of the right stamp ; but most men and women 
who know anything about horses look out 
for quality, good bone, loose elbows, active 
shoulders, strong back, clean hocks, and a 
head put on the right way ; whether in a 
horse over sixteen hands or a pony. A 
judge of horse flesh will never be mistaken 
about these qualifications, either in the mean- 
est-looking cab horse or a rough brute in a 

Hunting people of long experience will tell 
us they have had one horse in their lives. 
One that suited their temperament, that they 
took greater liberties with, that gave them 
fewer falls, and showed them more sport 

H tinting in the Shires. ^^ 

than all the others. Whyte Melville says, 
" Forty minutes over an enclosed country 
establishes the partnership of man and beast 
in relation of confidence." The combination 
of pluck, decision and persuasion in a man, 
and nervous susceptibility in a horse, begets 
intimacy and mutual affection which many 
married couples might envy. One horse may 
make a man's reputation, and pleasantly raise 
the average of an unequal, even shady, lot 
in his sale at Tattersall's. 

I had a brown horse that did a great deal 
for me. He was nearly thorough-bred ; by 
Lydon, dam by Pollard, 15*3, with beautiful 
limbs and freedom. He had poor ribs, rather 
a fractious mouth, and the courage of an 
army. I hunted him for six seasons ; in 
Cheshire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Wiltshire, 
Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire, 
Buckinghamshire, and Northamptonshire, and 
he never gave me a fall. 

I once fell off him. After an enormous 
jump over an average fence, prompted by 
a feeling of power and capacity, he gave a 
sort of skip on landing, and on this provoca- 


34 Ladies in the Field. 

tion I " cut a voluntary," to use a sporting 
phrase. He died of lockjaw, to my unceasing 
regret. I remember in 1885 being mounted 
on an extraordinary hunter. I had not gone 
ten strides before I knew I could not hold 
him. My patron, on receiving this informa- 
tion, said, " What does it matter ! hounds 
are running — you surely don't want to 
stop ? ' " Oh, no ! ' I replied, " but I cannot 
guide him." "That doesn't matter — they 
are running straight," so, stimulated by this 
obvious common sense, I went on in the 
delirium of the chase, till I had jumped so 
close to an innocent man that my habit 
skirt carried off his spur, and, in avoiding 
a collision at a ford, I jumped the widest 
brook I have ever seen jumped ; and after 
that I got a pull at him. He could not put 
a foot wrong, and was perfectly unconscious 
of my wish to influence him. 

I be^an hunting with the inestimable 
advantage of possessing no horses of my 
own. For four years I rode hired horses, 
and had many uncouth falls, but I never 
hurt myself or my horse. There is free- 

Hunting in the Shires. 35 

masonry among ''hirelings," I think: they 
know how to protect themselves and their 
riders. They jump without being bold; they 
are stale without being tired ; and they live 
to be very old ; by which, I presume, they 
are treated better than one would suppose. 
The first horse I ever possessed of my own 
cost £100, and was called Pickwell, after a 
manor house in Leicestershire. He was 15*2, 
with a swivel neck. For the benefit of people 
who do not understand this expression, I will 
say he could almost put his head upon my 
lap. He was a very poor " doer," and, to- 
wards the end of the season, assumed the 
proportions of a tea-leaf, and had to be sold. 
He could not do a whole day even when only 
hunted three days a fortnight. He was an 
airy performer, and I was sorry to part with 
him. I hunted him with the Grafton, the 
Bicester, and Selby Lownides. Parts of the 
Grafton country are as fine as Leicestershire, 
without having quite its scope or freedom. 
It is a very sporting country, with fine 
woodlands and good wild foxes. When 
I hunted there we had, in Frank Beers, 

2,6 Ladies in the Field. 

as good a huntsman as you could wish to 

In a paper of this length any criticism of 
the various merits of hunting countries would 
be impossible. In a rough w^ay this is how 
I should appraise them. The Cottesmore for 
hounds. The Burton for foxes. The Holder- 
nesse for horses. The Pytchley for riders, 
and the Quorn for the field. 

This needs some explanation. 

The Cottesmore is the most beautiful hound 
country in England. It is wild and undis- 
turbed : all grass, and carrying a good scent. 
No huntsman can interfere with his hounds, 
and no field over-ride them, for the simple 
reason that they cannot reach them easily. 
The drawbacks of this from a horseman's 
point of view are as obvious as the advan- 
tages to a houndman's. The country is very 
hilly in parts, and a good deal divided by 
unjumpable "bottoms," which the experienced 
do not meddle with, and which are onlv 
worth risking if you get aw r ay on good 
terms with the pack, "wdrile they stream 
across the first field with a dash that brings 

Htm ting in the Shires, 37 

the mettle to your heart and the blood to 
your brain," and your instinct tells you that 
you are in for a good thing ! You gain 
nothing by chancing one of these bottoms 
in an average hunting run. The scientific 
subscriber who knows every inch of the 
country will be in front of you, and you 
are fortunate if you get your horse out 
before dark. Brookesby thus describes the 
Cottesmore : — "A wide-spread region, scarcely 
inhabited ; ground that carries a scent in 
all weathers ; woodlands which breed a travel- 
ling race ; and mile upon mile of untracked 
grass, where a fox will meet nothing more 
terrifying than a bullock." 

If hounds really race over the hilly part 
of the Cottesmore, no horse or rider can 
follow them straight. He must use his head 
and eyes, not merely test his pluck and 

He need never lose sight of the pack if 
he is clever, and he will see a vision of grass 
landscape stretching away below him, and 
all around him, that will not fade with the 
magic of the moment. 

38 Ladies in the Field. 

There are people who predict the abolition 
of fox-hunting; in England. These think 
themselves the penetrating observers of life ; 
they are really the ignorant spectators, who 
take more trouble to avoid barbed wire than 
to prevent it being put up ; people who 
join in the groan of the times, without energy 
or insight. Prophecies of this kind should 
have no value, unless it be to make hunting 
people more consciously careful. Since there 
are larger subscriptions than ever, and more 
people hunt, we can only trust that com- 
pensation will be given liberally, but not 
lavishly, and upon principles of good sense 
and justice. I have thus digressed merely 
to say that if such a day should arrive, 
hunting is likely to survive longer in the 
Cottesmore than in most countries. 

The Burton (Lincolnshire) presents a strik- 
ing contrast to the Cottesmore. It is as 
flat as Holland, and you must be on the 
back of hounds if you wish to see them 
work. Most of the country is ploughed, and, 
by a time-honoured custom which brought 
both credit and money to the Lincolnshire 

Hunting in the Shires. 39 

farmers, many of the fields are double 
ploughed. This latter, to ride over, is only a 
little better than steam plough. As the price 
of wheat in England has fallen by 30 per 
cent, the farmers are ruined, and they are 
laying down more grass every year. The 
characteristic fence of the county is a wide 
drain set a little away from the hedge 
and cut very deep. The upstanding fences, 
although lower than those in the shires, 
are pretty high if you look at the depth of 
the ground from which you take off. 

The gorse covers are splendidly thick and 
overgrown and take a long time to draw ; 
a good many of the fashionable packs, I 
know, would hesitate to expose themselves 
to such rough work as drawing Toff Newton 
or Torrington gorse. The foxes are more 
like Scotch foxes, large and grey. They are 
wild, and take some killing, sometimes run- 
ning for two hours. There are not enough 

o o 

inhabitants to head them or cheer the 
discouraged huntsman by occasional in- 

In Cheshire I saw five foxes killed on one 

40 Ladies in the Field. 

da3^, but a huntsman in Lincolnshire will be 
lucky if he kills two in a week. 

I hunted two winters with the Burton 
hounds, and I am sure the largest field I 
ever saw was twenty people. The master, 
huntsman and two whips included. Hunt- 
ing in a big country with a small field and 
wild foxes is the best way of learning to be 
independent. If, as was my experience, you 
have a hard-riding huntsman, who gets down 
early in the run ; one whip who takes the 
wrong turn out of cover, and the other who 
hangs back after a refractory couple of hounds, 
a few poorly-mounted farmers and unlucky 
gentlemen, you can realise with moderate 
difficulty the possibility of the proud position 
of being alone with hounds ; although this 
distinction may be capable of the same ex- 
planation as was the position of the Scotch 
boy who, when boasting of being second 
in his class, was compelled to admit that it 
consisted of "Me and a lassie." 

I said the Holdernesse for horses, and I 
certainly never saw a better mounted field 
or a finer lot of riding farmers — all of them 

Hunting in the Shires. 41 

sportsmen and gentlemen. They ask long 
prices for their young horses, if they will sell 
them to you at all, but the chances are they 
have already promised them to some London 
dealer. Yorkshire horses are, perhaps, after 
Irish, the most famous. They are mostly 
thorough-bred, and can gallop and stay. I 
shall never forget a horse I held for a young 
farmer which would not allow him to mount. 
I can see it now, A long, loose-limbed bay, 
with a small, keen, bony face, and an eye 
that looked through you. I have a great 
weakness for a horse's face, and think in a 
general way it shows as much character as 
a man's. His back was perhaps a trifle too 
long, but his girth was deep, and he moved 
like an athlete. He was as wild as a hawk, 
and could hardly keep still for love of life, 
dancing at every shadow, and springing feet 
into the air when anyone passed too near 
him. He was beautifully ridden and humoured 
and ultimately settled into the discouraging 
trot known as " hounds pace." I asked his 
owner what he wanted for him, and how old 
he was. The man said that he was rising 

42 Ladies in the Field. 

six, that he wanted £300, and had often 
refused £250. We had a long talk, as we 
trotted down the road to draw the next 
cover, about horses in general and his bay 
in particular. I fancy his feats lost nothing 
by being repeated, but I shall not relate 
them, as what they gained by tradition 
they would lose by print. 

The Holdernesse is a light plough country, 
and, like Lincolu shire, its common fence is 
a deep drain, into which your horse can 
absolutely disappear. I saw eight men down 
in one, all at the same time, and a young 
thorough-bred horse in a deep drain is about 
the worst company in the world. 

There is not a finer country to ride over 
in England than the Pytchley. Unfortunately, 
too many people agree with us, which is a 
slight objection to hunting there. 

They have wonderful sport, a first-rate 
huntsman and a rich community. Lord 
Spencer is the keenest of masters and best 
of sportsmen. Whyte Melville says of 
him in his riding recollections : " The present 
Lord Spencer, of whom it is enough to say 

Hunting in the Shires. 43 

he hunts one pack of his own in Northamp- 
tonshire, and is always in the same field 
with them, never seems to have a horse pull, 
or, until it is tired, even lean on his hand." 
I should like to have been praised by Whyte 
Melville. He is one of the few novelists 
whose heroes are gentlemen, who can de- 
scribe English society and a straight forty 
minutes over countries that we recognise. 

The Pytchley is not cut up by railroads, 
like the Quorn. There is not nearly so 
much timber as there is in Leicestershire, 
but it is as bisr if not bigger. 

In old days, Lord Spencer told me, they 
said, " You may, perhaps, go through the 
Pytchley, but you must get over the Quorn." 

If anything will teach one to gallop, it 
is riding for a bridle gate in the company 
of three or four hundred people, none of 
them morbidly civil. 

You must get there, and get there soon, 
as it is the only visible means of securing 
a start, or getting into the next field. Some- 
times one's horse has a sensitive habit of 
backing when he is pressed, which allows 

44 Ladies' in the Field. 

everyone to pass you. In any case, you 
will have a horse's head under each arm ; 
a spur against your instep ; a kicker with 
a red tape in his tail pressed towards your 
favourite mare, with the doubtful consola- 
tion of being told, when the iron of his hoof 
has rattled against her fore-leg; that "it was 
too near to have hurt her." Your hat will be 
knocked off by an enthusiast pointing to the 
line the fox is taking, and your eye will 
dimly perceive the pack swaying over the 
ridg;e and farrow, like swallows crossing the 
sea, two fields ahead of you. If you harden 
your heart and jump the generally gigantic 
fence at the side of the gate, you expose 
yourself to the ridicule of the whole field ; 
for it is on these occasions that your favourite 
is pretty sure to fall on her head. 

No one is responsible for the manners of 
a field which is largely made up of " specials ' 
from Kugby, Leamington and Banbury. A 
Northamptonshire hunting-man is as nice 
a fellow as there is in England, and out- 
side his own country has the finest man- 
ners ; but the struggle for existence in the 

Hunting in the Shires. 45 

field with hard-riding casuals has hardened 
his heart and embittered his speech. 

Every field has its own character ; an 
indescribable "something" which one feels 
without being able to define. There is a 
friendliness and distinction about the Melton 
field peculiarly its own. The Quorn Fridays 
are joined by Mr Fernie's field, the Cottes- 
more, Bel voir and others, and is in conse- 
quence very large. Tom Firr, the huntsman 
— and a man who can very nearly catch 
a fox himself — is less moved by a large 
crowd than anyone I ever saw, unless, 
perhaps, it be his hounds who "come up 
through a crowd of horses, and stick to 
the line of their fox, or fling gallantly 
forward to recover it, without a thought 
of personal danger, or the slightest mis- 
giving that not one man in ten is master 
of the two pair of hoofs beneath him, carry- 
ing death in every shoe." 

A friend of mine — a cricketer — said that 
he did not know which country he pre- 
ferred hunting in — Leicestershire or North- 
amptonshire — but there was the same differ- 

4.6 Ladies in the Field. 

ence between them as playing at Lords and 
playing at the Oval. 

Melton Mowbray is about three hours and 
a half from London. By leaving London 
at 7 '30 you can hunt with the Pytchley 
at an eleven o'clock meet. You must get 
up earlier to hunt with the Quorn. I doubt 
if many people would risk leaving London 
between five and six in a climate like ours, 
where you cannot be quite sure that between 
five and eleven heavy snow may not have 
fallen, or that the damp in one county is 
not hard black frost in the next. 

Some say that Melton is not what it was. 
Perhaps this is because there are no poets 
left to sing of it. Bromley Davenport, Why te 
Melville and others have left us. Perhaps 
the red town has spread, and the old fox- 
hunters who grumble have grown older. Of 
course the old days were better when they 
found themselves leading " The cream of the 
cream in the shire of the shires." These 
days do not come twice. A man is fortunate 
to have had them once, and be able to say 
with the poet and philosopher, — 

Hunting in the Shires. 47 

Be fair or foul, or rain or shine, 
The joys I have possessed in spite of fate are mine. 
Not Heaven itself upon the Past has power. 
What has been has been, and I have had my hour. 

It is no small consideration to a Meltonian 
that he can hunt six days a week, and never 
leave his house at an undue hour. 

The Duke of Beaufort told me that the 
three best huntsmen living were Tom Firr, 
old Mr Watson (of the Carlow hounds), and 
Lord Worcester, and he is pretty sure to 
be right on any sporting matter. Whatever 
people may think of the last two named, 
Tom Fin's reputation is as firmly established 
as was Fred Archer's in another line. 

From criticising the countries, I should like 
to pass on to the riders, both men and women, 
that I have seen and admired ; but, not being 
a journalist, I could not commit this indis- 
cretion. I shall content myself, and perhaps 
not offend anyone, by writing a few general 
observations on women's riding. 

No woman can claim to be first-rate over 
a country, unless she can take her own line. 
Most women have pluck, and would follow 

48 Ladies in the Field. 

their pioneer were he to attempt jumping 
an arm of the sea ; but place them alone in 
an awkward enclosure, they will not know how 
to get out of it. They need not of necessity 
take a new place in every fence, but if a 
gap is away from the line they imagine 
to be the right one, it is irritating to see 
them pull out to follow one particular 
person. They don't diminish the danger by 
surrendering their intelligence,, if they are 
well mounted and conscious of what they 
are doing. A good rider chances nothing, 
but must of necessity risk a good deal. 

I do not think women are good judges 
of pace, and although they are seldom afraid 
of jumping, they hardly ever gallop. Men 
will say it is because they sit on one side 
and have not the power to make a horse 
gallop. This is obviously true in the case 
of many horses, but there are some who, 
roused by the nervous force in their riders, 
will gallop without being squeezed, and who 
want nothing more than to be held together 
and left alone, 

There is a great deal of nonsense talked 

Hunting in the Shires. 49 

about "lifting' and "recovering' a horse. 
More horses have recovered themselves by 
being left alone in moments of difficulty 
than by all the theories ever propounded. 
When a horse pecks with a man he is 
thrown forward ; a woman, if she is sitting 
properly and not hanging her toe in a short 
stirrup, is, if anything, thrown back, and, 
from the security of her seat, is able to 
recover her horse with more natural advan- 
tage than a man. A woman's seat is strong, 
but never balanced ; a horse refusing suddenly 
to the left may upset her balance without 
moving her in her seat. When a horse bucks, 
from the very fact that to keep on, she 
must sit tioht, it is so tiring that the chances 
are she will be bucked off sooner than a man. 
If she gets the least out of her saddle she 
cannot, by reason of the pommels, get back, 
whereas a horse may play cup and ball with 
a man for a long time without missing 

There are two classes of hunters that a 
woman should not be mounted on ; the two 
that Whyte Melville says want coercion. 


$o Ladies in the Field. 

" The one that must be steered, and the 
other smuggled over a country." A nervous, 
fractious brute will go as well, if not better, 
with a woman than with a man on him. 

It is, I suppose, a want of independence 
in the feminine character that makes most 
women follow some particular man. They are 
nearly always beautifully mounted, and have 
keen enough observation to measure the 
height of a fence, and see the weak place. 
You will hear a man say to his wife, — " I 
must give Favourite a turn, dear, she is get- 
ting sticky," and he will take his wife's mare, 
an accomplished hunter, wise as a chape- 
ron, and ride her with a cutting whip. It 
is probably the result of always following 
another horse, which has taken the spirit of 
emulation out of the mare, robbing her of 
a sense of responsibility and a chance of being 
anion o- the first few in a fine run. 

A man seldom rides as hard if he is followed 
by a lady. He loses his dash. 

At one time no woman could fall without 
a certainty of being dragged by her habit 
skirt, or her stirrup ; but now, at anyrate, that 

Hunting in the Shires. 5 1 

danger lias been removed, by Scott's * apron 
skirt, and Mayhew's # patent side saddle. 

I saw a narrow escape once, some years ago. 
A young lady of indifferent nerve, mounted 
by a male relative on an uncongenial horse, 
trotted slowly down hill to a high fence to 
see what was on the other side. The horse, 
supposing he was meant to jump the fence, 
not unnaturally proceeded to do so, much 
against the lady's will. Her weak resistance 
succeeded in landing him on his head, in a 
deep ditch on the other side. She fell 
off, and was hung up by her habit skirt. 
The horse recovered himself, and, feeling a 
heavy weight on one side of him, was seized 
with a panic of fear, and, laying back his ears, 
thundered alons; in the ditch which had a 
gravelly bottom. A gentleman, unconscious 
of what had happened, rode down to the fence 
from the other side, and canonned upon landing 
against the loose horse and prostrate lady ; 
they all rolled over together. As the lady's 
head had apparently been bumping the 

* Scott in South Molton Street ; and Mayhew in Seymour 
Street, Edge ware Road. 

52 Ladies in the Field. 

grass bank for some twenty yards, we sup- 
posed she was killed ; but, on extrication, she 
was discovered to be unhurt. The man had 
broken his collar-bone. Her habit was of the 
old-fashioned kind, and did not give way. 

Everyone has seen similar casualties, and 
men, as well as women, dragged on their 
heads ; it is the most alarming part of 

I am told that there is a great art in falling, 
and certainly it requires judgment to know 
when to hold on and when to let go of the 
reins. There can be nothing more exasperat- 
ing to a man than to loose his horse in a trifl- 
ing accident, when he has a first-rate place 
at the beoiainno; of a run. A friend of mine 
looking over a dealer's yard stopped before 
a flea-bitten mare. He said he would like to 
see her run out, as she looked like suiting 
him. The dealer replied, — " I could not 
honestly recommend her to you, sir, she 
would run away with you." ''But," said 
my friend, " she is the very animal I want ! 
The last one I had ran away without me." 

Loose horses are trials that go far to prov- 

Hunting in the Shires. 53 

ing your character ; you may make a friend 
for life by catching his horse. There are, 
of course, occasions when it would be mere 
waste of time attempting anything of the 
sort, when a stupid animal careers wildly away 
in the opposite direction of hounds ; but I 
am often struck by the way self- centred 
people let the easiest opportunities pass of 
serving their neighbours. I have been de- 
lighted by seeing men, purposely looking 
the other way, punished by the confiding 
animal going straight up to them, making 
it impossible, with the best show of clumsi- 
ness, to avoid bringing him back to his 
grateful owner, who jerspiring, runs across 
the ridge and furrow, in breeches and boots 
of the most approved fashion. 

There is one other and last side of fox- 
hunting with which I will conclude. 

E. L. Stevenson says, " Drama is the poetry 
of conduct, and Komance the poetry of cir- 
cumstances." There is only one sport that 
combines drama and romance ; the sport for 
kings. There are days when your very soul 
would seem to penetrate the gras°, when, with 

54 Ladies in the Field. 

the smell of damp earth in your nostrils, and 
the rhythm of blood- stirring stride underneath 
you, you forget everything, yourself included. 
These days live with you. They console you 
for the monotony of Swiss scenery. They 
translate you out of fierce Indian sunshine ; 
they rise up between } 7 ou and the gaslight, 
and shut out the grey grinding streets. You 
wake up to ask the housemaid half uncon- 
sciously whether it is freezing ; the answer 
leaves you uncertain, and you jump out of bed. 
There is a damp fog on the window, w^hich 
you hastily wipe away, to see the paths are 
brown, and the slates wet ; there is no sun 
and no w r ind. You hear the tramp of the 
stable boy's feet below your room, and 
snatches of a song whistled in the yard, you 
can see the clothes line hung with stable 
breeches, and a very old dog poking about 
the court. You tie your tie, left over right, 
with the precision of habit, and, seizing your 
letters, run down to breakfast. You are in- 
dependent of your host ; he has a hack. You 
ask your hostess what she is going to do with 
herself, w 7 hile she w T alks across the yard to see 

Hunting in the Shires, 55 

you start in the buggy. You let the boy 
drive while you read your letters. You 
thrust them into your pocket and bow faintly 
over a high coat collar as you swing past the 
different riders and second horsemen. You see 
your horses at a corner of the road, and are 
told you cannot ride Molly Bawn, as she " 'it 
erself" in the night — an unsatisfactory way 
horses valuable have of incapacitating them- 
selves. You get on your horse and ride 
through a line of bridle gates till you find 
yourself in a bewildering throng of people and 
horses, just outside the village. Ladies lean- 
ing over their splash boards, talking to fine 
young gentlemen, unconscious of their shaft, 
which is tickling a horse of great value, the 
groom leading it, too anxious about his own 
mount to observe the danger. Children back- 
ing into bystanders, with their habits in 
festoons over the crupper ; ladies standing up 
in their carriages divesting themselves of their 
wraps, and husbands unfastening their hat 
boxes; dealers discreetly and conspicuously 
taking their horses out of the crowd and 
cantering them round the field to show their 

56 Ladies in the Field. 

slow paces, looking down at the ground and 
sitting motionless, as if uneonseious of any on- 
lookers. Hard, weather-beaten men in low 
crowned hats, with double snaffles in their 
horses' mouths, are feeling their girths, and 
ladies in long loose coats explaining to their 
pilots that they wear their strap on their heels, 
not on their toes. Your host comes up now, 
and you wonder, to look at his hack, that he 
ever arrived at all. You ask as delicately as 

you can what he is riding. " Old S n," he 

replies, and you find yourself criticising the 
winner of a former Grand National. In all 
this fret and fuss Tom Firr sits like a philo- 
sopher, surrounded by the questioning pack ; 
vouchsafing an occasional remark to a farmer 
or a patron of the hunt. At last the vast 
field is set in motion, and, with an eye on 
Firr, you jog down the road to draw. In- 
stead of following the knowing ones, and 
standing outside the covert at an advantageous 
point down wind, you go inside and watch the 
hounds dancing through the little copse, 
shaking the dewdrops on the undergrowth, 
and scattering with indifference the startled 

Hunting in the Shires. 57 

rabbit. In perfect stillness you thread your 
way slowly through the tangled tracks, your 
horse arching his neck and pointing his toes 
as if he were stepping to the drum and fife. 
There is a spring in the grass path, and a 
thrill in the air which makes you lift your 
face to the open sky as if to receive the 
essence of the day, and a blessing from the 
unseen sun. Suddenly, without warning, a 
silver halloa rings through the air, driving the 
blood to your heart, and you find yourself 
wheeling your horse round and crashing 
through the undergrowth to a gap you had 
noticed as you came along. The whole field 
is thundering round the cover as you jump 
out of it with the last hound, and the pack 
makes hard for a fence of impassable thick- 
ness. Luckily for you they turn up it, and 
a lagging hound joins his friends half way 
up the fence, where the growers are thinner. 
The gate is locked, but the rail at the side is 
jumpable, and your horse takes off accurately 
and lands you in the same field as hounds. 
You find yourself with Firr and five or six 
others, who have galloped twice your distance, 

58 Ladies in the Field. 

to catch them. You avoid a boggy gap, 
which the two riders ahead of you are making 
for, and catch hold of your horse for a clean 
" stake-and-bound." It is down hill, and you 
feel as if you never would land. You jump 
into a road, and nearly fall off as your horse 
turns suddenly down it, following the other 
horses. The hounds cross, and you are 
carried down the road past the few places 
where you could jump out, and the people 
behind profit by their position and get over 
where hounds crossed. You hammer along 
the road with twenty people shouting " Go 
on ! " whenever you want to stop, till an open 
gate takes you into the field, where you see 
five or six men a good way ahead of you. 
Nothing but pace serves you then, and all the 
warnings in the world that there is wire, or a 
brook, will not turn you from your intention 
to catch them again. 

By luck, which you hardly deserve, the 
wire is loose upon the ground, and you 
only t wing-twang it with one shoe as you 
land, and are off again before it curls like 
a shaving round your horse's leg. 

Hunting in the Shires. 59 

You have put wire between you and the 
field, and are now free to go as you please for 
the next twenty minutes. Firr and five 
others are your only rivals, and they are 
ready to whistle a warning where the country 
gets complicated. 

The pack check for a moment outside a 
small cover, but the fox is too tired and too 
hard pressed to go into it, and Firr gets their 
heads down with a sound, quite impossible to 
spell, and five minutes after, the hounds are 
tumbling over each other like a scramble at 
a school-feast, and Firr holds up the fox 
with an expression in his face as if he could 
cat him. 

• ••••..., 

You tuck the rug round you, with your 
mouth full of buttered toast. Your lamps are 
lit, and the sky is aglow. 

"Let 'em go please. Cornel" and with a 
bound and a clatter you leave the sun behind 
you, and, shaving the gate-post, swing down 
the turnpike home. 



Br the Duchess of Newcastle. 

Why are ladies sometimes considered nuis- 
ances out hunting ? Because the generality 
of riders are unfortunately in the way of 
their neighbours, and have not the remotest 
idea of what they ought to do. 

Before they inflict themselves on the hunt- 
ing field, they should learn to manage their 
horses, to keep out of the way, and should 
they wish to jump, to ride straight at their 
fences, not landing too near their pilots, and 
not taking anyone else's place. When once 
they can accomplish so much, they will no 
longer be considered troublesome. In fact, 
few things are more dangerous than riding 
in Rotten Row, simply because the greater 
part of the riders have not the faintest idea of 
the risks they incur. You will see both young- 
men and young women galloping recklessly 


64 Ladies in the Field. 

along with a perfectly loose rein, sometimes 
knocking down tie unfortunate ones wio 
happen to be in tteir way, and followed by 
grooms wio iave usually even less idea of 
riclino- and finish the mischief their owners 


have begun. 

Then the untidy, slipshod way the riders 
are often turned out is a disgrace to a 
country which is considered to have the 
best horses and riders in the world. What 
must foreigners — Hungarians, for instance, 
who know something of riding, of horses, 
and of horsemen— think of tie doubtful 
spectacle two-thirds of the riders present. 
Poor old screws, who have usually to pull 
the family coach of an afternoon, broken- 
down hunters, an apology for hacks, are to 
be seen carrying their fair burdens, who 
look anything but at home in their saddles, 
with hair piled up in latest but most un- 
workmanlike fashion, flapping blouses, and 
habits that look as though night - gowns, 
still worn, were beneath. Of course many 
people cannot afford expensive hacks, but 
I would sooner any day have a broken- 

Horses and their Riders. 65 

winded or broken-kneed screw that was well- 
bred and well-shaped, than a sound one 
who looked an underbred, lazy, three-cornered 
beast. Besides, there is no reason why any- 
one who can afford a horse at all, should 
not have it well groomed, with neat saddle, 
and brightly-burnished bit, and be at the 
same time smartly turned out herself. It is 
as cheap to be clean as to be dirty ; and a 
little extra trouble will go a long way in 
the desired direction. 

For the safety of the multitude, it would 
be a good thing if all people who are going 
to ride or drive on the public highway were 
made to pass an examination as to their 
capabilities, and I do not believe, if that 
were so, that half of the present riders in 
the road would be admitted. 

Children are taught to ride quite on the 
wrong principle. How can a child of three 
understand or appreciate a ride in a pannier 
on some fat Shetland's back? The acre of 
eight years is quite soon enough for any 
child to begin ; before that time it is im- 
possible for them to control the smallest 


66 Ladies in the Field. 

pony, and this very experience often destroys 
their nerve. 

In buying a pony, be very sure that it 
is sound, with a nice light mouth ; twelve 
hands is quite small enough. Most children's 
hands are spoilt by letting them learn to 
ride on a pony destitute of any mouth, the 
result is they learn to hold on by the poor 
thing's bridle, and anyone who does that 
can never ride well. Let girls first learn to 
stick on a cross saddle before putting them 
on a side saddle, it teaches them to sit 
straight, and is much better for them in 
every way. 

Anyone with bad hands can never be a 
really good rider. You can go hard, be able 
to ride a horse that has bad manners, such 
as kicking, bucking, rearing, running away, 
for that is simply a matter of nerve ; but 
a good rider means someone whose horse 
always goes nicely and kindly, who does 
not hang on his mouth, who knows how to 
make him gallop, and can ride really well 
at a fence. Half the falls out hunting come 
from putting your horse crookedly at the 

Horses and their Riders. 67 

fence, and from losing your head when he 
has made a mistake. 

Always endeavour — should your horse come 
down with you, and you have not parted com- 
pany — to keep your presence of mind. Do 
not try to get off, as that will probably lead 
to a worse accident. Leave the reins alone, 
for nothing frightens a horse more when he is 
clown than touching his mouth with the bit. 
Sit quite still, and it is more than likely that 
you will be able to continue your ride without 
the smallest mishap, or even a dirty back. 

A great deal has been said on the subject 
of ladies' horses. One thing is quite certain — 
they cannot be too good, and for a side-saddle 
a fine shoulder is indispensable ; for, if you 
ride a horse without it, the sensation is most 
unpleasant. You feel as though you were 
sitting on his ears. Before mounting, ahvays 
see that the saddle is not put on the top of 
the withers, but just behind them, so that 
the weight does not fall on the top of the 
shoulders. Besides being less likely to give a 
sore back, the rider is much more comfortable. 
The reason why ladies give a sore back so 

68 Ladies in the Field. 

often is that they ride with too long a stirrup, 
and do not sit straight. Sit well to the off 
side, and, should you think your saddle is 
not quite straight, either get someone to alter 
it for you or go home, for anything is better 
than to have your horse laid up for a month 
with a bad back. I think a well-bred horse 
about 15*2, with a nice light mouth, is the 
nicest mount for a woman. For if one gets 
a really good fencer and galloper this size, 
he is far better than a big underbred horse 
that tires one out immediately. But, of 
course, everyone has to be mounted according 
to her w T eight. A nice light w T eight can see 
a great deal of sport on the back of a really 
good pony about fourteen hands. It is wonder- 
ful the big fences many such ponies will con- 
trive to get over, if they really mean business. 
The first pony I ever had w T as a little twelve- 
hand Welsh mare, and there was nothing that 
pony wouldn't jump or scramble over somehow. 
What w T as too high for her she would get 
under. She could crawl and climb like a cat, 
and gallop faster than most horses ; and, when 
she was twenty years of age, was as fresh as 

Horses and their Riders. 69 

a three-year-old. In fact, my brother won 
three races of five furlongs on the flat with 
her, against much bigger ponies. The best 
thing I can wish any of our readers is to have 
another, whether horse or pony, as good and 
as game as she was. 

K. Newcastle. 



By Mrs Chawobth Musters. 

If there is one calling in which a real help- 
mate can be of more use to a man than any 
other, it is in that many-sided and arduous 
undertaking called " hunting a country." 

Not that it is to be desired that a lady 
should take an active part in the field man- 
agement, like the well-meaning dame who is 
reported to have said to an offender, "If I 
w T ere a gentleman I would swear at you." But 
without letting zeal outrun discretion, how 
much may a ''mistress of hounds " (as we 
will call her for brevity's sake) do to pro 
mote sport and good feeling, besides deciding 
on the cut of a habit, and on who is to be 
invited to wear the hunt colours. 

"I have been a foxhunter myself, and I 
know how selfish they are," was the re- 

74 Ladies in the Field. 

mark once made to the writer by an old 
gentleman in Leicestershire, and it must, in 
candour, be admitted that there was some 
truth in his agreeable frankness. 

Now, the mistress of the hounds should 
do all in her power to make hunting ac- 
ceptable, by trying to counteract the over- 
bearing egotism which no doubt is apt to 
be the effect of an absorbing pursuit on 
men's characters. 

She should bear in mind that hunting 
was, after all, made for man, and not man 
for hunting, and that because some people 
are fortunate enough to be born with a 
taste for that amusement, combined (which 
is important) with the means of gratifying 
it, there is no reason why others less happily 
gifted should be despised and sent to the wall. 

The cause of fox-hunting was never yet 
furthered by votaries, who appear to think 
everything else in the way of sport un- 
worthy of thought or notice. " Give and 
take," should be their motto, as well as that 
of all conditions of men, in fact, "more so' 
considering that, in the present day, most 

The Wife of the M. R H. 75 

followers of hounds are indebted to others 
for their fun, and do not own a yard of the 
land they ride over. 

Many a man is "put wrong" for life, and 
hastily designated as a " beastly vulpecide," 
who would have been pleased to find a fox 
for his neighbours now and then, though not 
caring for the sport himself, if he had 
been treated with the consideration generally 
shown in other matters. Therefore, the lady 
we have in our mind will do all she can to 
sympathise with the pursuits and amuse- 
ments of others besides hunting people, and 
will do her best to destroy the idea that a 
fine horsewoman must necessarily be " horsey," 
or a lover of fox-hounds " doggy." 

Since the extraordinary popularity of Whyte 
Melville's and Surtee's novels and songs, a 
generation has grown up, who have flattered 
themselves into the belief that the fact of 
riding after hounds at once makes heroes 
and heroines of them, and that they are 
almost conferring a benefit on their fellow- 
creatures by emulating Kate Coventry or 
the Honourable Crasher. 

j 6 Ladies in the Field. 

Formerly people went hunting because 
they liked it, now with many it is a means 
to an end, a passport to good society, a 
fashion rather than a taste. 

In the true interests of fox-hunting this 
is to be deplored, but as it is impossible to 
separate the wheat from the chaff, a mistress 
must content herself with smoothing over 
difficulties, with trying to avoid coll ! sions 
between those who live in a country, and 
those who hunt in it ; and it will be her 
aim to make up for any roughness or seem- 
ing neglect on the part of those who follow 
her husband's hounds. 

As Jorrocks told James Pigg, " There 
must be unanimity and concord, or we sha'n't 
kill no foxes." 

A lady should herself set an example of 
courtesy when meeting at a country house 
by dismounting and paying her respects 
to the hostess, especially if the owner 
is not a habitual follower of the chase. 
She may also sometimes make an oppor- 
tunity to call on her way home for a few 
minutes, not obviously with the desire of 

The Wife of the M. F. H. 7 7 

snatching a few mouthfuls, like a hungry 
do2f, and then tearing out again, but in a 
neighbourly, pleasant fashion, for no one likes 
to be unmistakably made a convenience of. 

These little amenities go a long way to- 
wards what is called "keeping a country 
together," and, when the lady at the head 
of affairs sets her face against rudeness and 
" cliqueishness ' there is likely to be less 
friction between those whom a Melton sports- 
man once designated as the " cursed locals," 
and the sporting gentry who are only birds 
of passage. 

Politeness in the field is, of course, part of 
our ideal lady's nature, and she could no 
more omit to thank the sportsman, farmer, 
or labouring man, who showed her an act 
of civility, than if he were her partner at a 
ball ; though a story is told of a gentleman 
in a crack country, who said to a fair follower 
of the chase, that she was the forty-second 
lady he had held a gate for, and the first 
who had said "Thank you." 

But let us turn to the farmer, who with 
his farmyard gate in his hand, is anxiously 

7 8 Ladies in the Field. 

watching some young stock crowding against 
his valuable ewes in an adjoining field, while 
a light-hearted damsel is leading a select 
party over the wheat, so as to outstrip the 
riders who follow the headland, on their 
way to draw a favourite covert. Possibly 
that farmer in " a happier day than this," 
rode his own nag horse with the best of 
them, and talked cheerily to his landlord 
about the cubs in the big rabbit hole, and 
the partridge " nesses ' in his mowing grass, 
but now neither he nor " the Squire " can 
afford nag horses or shooting parties. It is 
toil and moil, all work and no play, for 
the occupier ; and very likely the landlord 
has had to let the pleasant acres on which 
he and his forefathers disported themselves, 
and feels shy of the tenants for whom he 
is unable to do all they have been accustomed 

It is in these cases that " the lady ' will 
come to the front, with all the tact and 
kindliness that is in her. Instead of rushing 
rudely past him, she will pull up and listen 
to the poor man's remarks, and, perhaps, help 

The Wife of the M. F.H. 79 

him to restrain his straying beasts. There 
are so many occasions in a day's hunting, 
when a few minutes more or less are of 
little importance, that it is a pity they 
should not be utilised in promoting good 
feeling and. mutual understanding, instead 
of bein£ wasted in grumbling at the hunts- 
man, and. abusing the sport he shows. 

The mistress of the hounds can do some- 
thing, surely, by precept and example, to 
discourage the outrageous lavishness coupled 
with meanness, which is the curse of modern 
life, and is nowhere more odious and 
out of character than in the hunting 

People who spend every sixpence they can 
afford, and some they cannot, on their habits 
and boots and saddles, cannot, of course, 
produce one of those useful coins at an oppor- 
tune moment, but if they could stint them- 
selves now and then of an extra waistcoat 
or tie, they would find that the spare cash 
would go a long way towards mending a 
broken rail ; to say nothing of the different 
feeling with which the advent of hounds 

So Ladies in the Field. 

would be regarded, if it meant money in 
the pocket, instead of out of it. 

Munificence in the few, but meanness in 
the many, is, unfortunately, too much the 
rule among hunting men and women. They 
find it apparently much easier to write tirades 
to the Field on the subject of "wire' for 
instance, than to produce a few shillings 
and quietly get it taken down, as in some 
instances could easily be done. A wooden 
rail costs sixpence, a day's work half-a-crown, 
and it does seem rather pitiful, that, consider- 
ing the three millions more or less annually 
spent on hunting in the United Kingdom, 
it should be found impossible, except in a 
few well-managed districts, to provide funds 
for fencing. 

Our mistress might well turn her attention 
to this matter, and she may induce other 
ladies to look round their own neighbour- 
hoods, and see what can be done in this 
way in a friendly spirit, without the formali- 
ties of committees and subscriptions. 

It is not unlikely that among the tenant 
farmers or freeholders of our lady's acquaint- 

The Wife of the M. F. H. 8 1 

ance may be one, who from age or " bad 
times ' has been obliged to retire to a smaller 
sphere, but whose heart is still true to fox- 
hunting, and who would delight in being 
of use, if he only knew how. Such a man, 
mounted on an old pony, could be of the 
greatest service in a hunting country. He 
would follow in the track of the horsemen, 
shutting the gates they have invariably left 
open, and would have an eye on the perverse 
young horses and wandering sheep which do 
not "love the fold," but prefer to rush 
madly, like their betters, after the fascina- 
tions of a pack of hounds. 

There may be instances in which the 
mistress of the hounds herself is content 
to " take a back seat " and to humbly watch 
her husband's prowess without emulating it, 
and in such a case she can do a good deal 
in the way of shutting gates, calling atten- 
tion to stray stock, and noting damage done 
to fences and crops. 

It is quite impossible for a master to see 
half the delinquencies committed by his field, 
though he is. of course, held responsible for 


82 Ladies in the Field. 

them, but if the rearguard of the merry chase, 
so to say, was brought up by an official, 
whose business it was to detect the offenders 
who get off and "jump on top' of fences, 
it would be a cheaper and more satisfactory 
arrangement in the long run. 

In a wet season it should be borne in mind 
that it hurts all crops to be ridden over, grass 
as well as arable, and therefore roads and 
headlands should be strictly adhered to when 
going from covert to covert. Any consider- 
able damage should be apologised for, if 
possible at once, and if people were not so 
desperately afraid of paying for their amuse- 
ment (because that amusement is called hunt- 
ing), an acknowledgement given there and 
then to the sufferer would do him no harm, 
and the cause of fox-hunting a great deal 
of good. A season or two ago, a whole 
field of ardent (?) sportsmen in a crack 
country allowed themselves to be delayed 
for a long time bandying words at an oc- 
cupation bridge, with a man who had " turned 
awkward," and who was completely in his 
rights within stopping the way if he chose. 

The Wife of the M. F.H. S3 

It seems curious that among a hundred 
horsemen, worth among them, probably, as 
many thousands a year, no one seems to 
have been struck with the idea of producing 
a sovereign to pay for the cutting up of 
the grass that must follow the passage of 
such a squadron. 

But perhaps we have dwelt too lono- 
on the seamy side of the duties of a 
mistress of hounds. Let us turn to the 
more agreeable contemplation of her 

Should she belong to a hunting family, 
she will have heard from her father, ever 
since she can remember, stories of the " brave 
days of old," of Meynell, and Musters, and 
the giants of those days. She will have 
learnt to sing " Osbaldeston's voice, reaching 
the heavens, boys," to repeat the " Billesdon 
Coplow" and " Eanksborough Gorse," and 
in the intervals of schoolroom lessons she 
will have been taken to see packs now, 
perhaps, become historical. 

If a dweller in the North Country, the 
name of Ralph Lambton will be familiar 

84 Ladies in the Field. 

to her ; and in the South, legends of John 
Ward and Mr Farquharson of Badminton, 
and Berkeley, have been the delight of 
her youth. 

Should she be fortunate enough to live 
in " the Shires ' she may, from an early age, 
have looked up at the towers of Belvoir, 
where hunting and hospitality are a byw r ord 
and a delight, and she may just remember 
the glories of Quorn, and Sir Richard, of Lord 
Henry, and the Burton, like Mr Bromley 

" Nourishing a verdant youth, 
With the fairy tales of gallops, ancient runs 
devoid of truth." 

The kind cheery voices of Captain Percy 
Williams and Mr Anstruther Thomson, always 
indulgent and encouraging to young people, 
may have fostered her natural love of the 
chase, and she may, while hunting with the 
former, have imbibed some idea of riding, 
from the sio;ht of the celebrated Dick 
Christian handling the young horses at 

The Wife of the M. F.H. 85 

She will have looked with a reverential 
awe at blind Mr Foljambe of Osberton, who 
was able to judge of any hound by the sense 
of touch, long after that of sight was denied 
him, and who still hunted led by a groom. 

Perhaps a little private hunting with 
beagles, or foxhound puppies, may have 
given our future mistress an interest in 
individual hounds, their treatment and char- 
acteristics, so that by - and - by, when she 
has to do with things on a larger scale, 
it is easier for her to know one hound 
from another, and to appreciate their 
differences, than if she had never seen less 
than seventeen or eighteen couple to- 

Very likely it may have been her dream 
from childhood to marry a Master of Hounds, 
so when, as the old song says, — 

"A young Country Squire requested her hand, 
Whose joy 'twas to ride by her side, 
So domestic a prospect what girl could withstand, 
She became, truly willing, his bride." 

Then would follow 7 the interest of making 

S6 Ladies in the Field. 

acquaintance with the country, with all 
classes of people in it, with the coverts, 
lanes, and bridle-paths, the lovely little bits 
that most people never see at all, to say 
nothing of the pleasant companionship of 
hounds, horses, and hunt-servants. 

Captain Percy Williams's advice to a young 
M. F. H. was, " Stay at home with your wife 
and your hounds," but how can a man do so, 
if his wife is all agog to drag him to London 
or abroad directly the hunting season is over ? 
Hounds should be a summer as well as a 
winter pastime, but whether they are so or 
not depends almost entirely on the wife of 
their possessor. 

When all is said and done, two people, 
who are young, happy, and like-minded, can 
scarcely find an enjoyment greater than that 
of going out hunting together with their 
own hounds. To be starting on a nice 
horse, on a fine morning, for one long- 
day of happiness, is a delight that can 
only be enhanced by sharing it with a 
kindred soul, and best of all if that soul is 
a husband's. 

The Wife of the M. F. H. S7 

Then the greetings from all classes at the 
meet, the feeling of giving pleasure to so 
many, the pride in the hounds, and the skill 
of the huntsman, tempered though it be 
with anxiety for the success of the day's 
sport, all go to warm the heart and fire the 
imagination as nothing else does. 

And as the hours pass imperceptibly, and 
the brown woods open their vistas, and 
yellowing pastures alternate with dark hedge- 
rows, and the chiming of hounds with the 
distant holloas, there is the anticipation of 

" Oak Room with a blazing fire 
To end a long day's ride, 
And what to them is chance and change 
While they sit side by side." 

Years afterwards, when many other things 
have turned to bitterness or disappointment, 
comrades of the hunting field will be a solace 
and a pleasure to each other, and the mistress 
of the hounds, when no longer following their 
cry, will be with them in spirit, will be in- 
terested to the points of each run, the perform- 

88 Ladies in the Field. 

ancc of each pack, and her heart will ever 
beat true to 

"The friends for whom, alive or dead, her love is 
unimpaired ; 
The mirth, and the adventure, and the sport that 
they have shared." 

Lina Chaworth Musters. 

F O X-H U N T I N G. 


" The sport of kings, the image of war without its 
guilt, and only five-and-twenty per cent of its 

There are many ladies very well qualified 
to write a valuable paper on the art of 
riding over a country, but, possibly, the 
following short sketch — from the hunting 
more than the riding point of view — may be 
of interest, as I am sorely afraid ladies are 
sometimes apt to forget the presence of the 
hounds, and little consider the trouble and 
anxiety it takes to bring into the field a 
really efficient pack. 

Some masters may have the good fortune 
to start with a ready-made and perfect pack 
of hounds — a most perishable possession — 
as a very short time of unintelligent man- 
agement will reduce the finest pack in the 
kingdom to a comparatively worthless one 


92 Ladies in the Field. 

— but the majority have to begin from the 
bottom for themselves. 

Fortunately, draft hounds are plentiful, 
and a hundred couple or more can easily 
be bought — out of which (taking care to 
get quit of any good-looking ones) forty 
couple sufficient for a start may be got. 
Now as to horses. 

Many people suppose that any sort of 
screw is good enough for a servant's horse. 
No more fatal or uneconomical error exists. 

A huntsman's horse should be as near per- 
fection as can be got ; and this cannot be 
had for little money. 

A huntsman has sufficient to do to attend 
to his business, without being a rough rider 
at the same time, and ought to feel himself 
to be the best mounted man in the field, 
or thereabouts. 

If he is put on inferior animals, he has 
a very strong temptation to feed his hounds 
back to his horse. A really strong pack of 
hounds on a good scent will run away from 
any horse living. 

And that wouderful huntsman one hears 

Fox-hunting. 9 


of " who is always with his hounds," nine 
times out of ten always has his hounds with 

All servants' horses should be well-bred, 
strong, and short-legged, for it must be 
borne in mind that they have much harder 
work than gentlemen's horses, therefore care 
should be taken that they are qualified to 
carry a good deal more weight than w r ould 
appear necessary to the uninitiated. 

Hounds and horses having been bought, 
we must now proceed to man the ship. 

To begin with — The Master. 

Let us suppose an M. F. H., who has been 
properly taught the trade (for it is impossible 
for anybody, be he never so rich, to satisfac- 
torily perform the duties of this important 
position, unless he has been thoroughly 
grounded in the rudiments). 

Such an one is always courteous and kindly 
to those with whom he is brought in contact, 
be they connected with the agricultural in- 
terest, or members of his field. There is a 
vast deal of human nature in people, and 
a little civility goes a long way. 

94 Ladies in the Field. 

An ill-mannered master is a curse to any 
country, and a mere " Field-Damner " is 
a creature unfit to live. 

Few know the troubles of keeping a 
country, and the cordial co-operation of the 
master in this work is of vital importance. 

Our supposititious M. F. H., however, thor- 
oughly appreciates this obligation, and, bear- 
ing this in mind, he will select for his huntsman 
a respectable, well-mannered servant. Nothing 
farmers and keepers detest so much as an ill- 
conditioned, uncivil man. 

The first necessity in a huntsman is, that 
he should be a man whom hounds are fond 
of, and who is fond of them. He should 
be in constant companionship with his hounds, 
taking the greatest care in keeping them 
off their benches as much as possible. The 
neglect of this somewhat troublesome duty 
in many kennels results in lameness. 

He must be an early man in the morning, 
as hounds ought to be finished feeding by 
eight o'clock the day before hunting. 

He should carefully watch the constitution 
of each hound, and feed it accordingly. 

Fox-hunting. 9 5 

It is impossible for hounds to drive and 
run hard unless they are fed strong, and 
are full of muscle. 

A thin hound is a weak hound and tires 
at night. 

Hounds ought always to be cast in front 
of their huntsman, but this cannot be done 
unless they are really strong and vigorous. 

If to these important qualifications can be 
added a fine horseman, so much the better ; 
but riding is really a secondary considera- 
tion in a huntsman, provided he is work- 
man enough to keep pretty handy with his 

There is no occasion to give young gentle- 
men a lead over the country, let them find 
the way for themselves. 

A good cheery voice is also a valuable 
property in a huntsman. 

For his whipper-in, he will have a young 
man who has learnt his duty, as described 
in a little book called Hints to Huntsmen* 
by heart. If he knows that, and 'practises 

* Hints to Huntsmen, by Colonel Anstruther Thomson, 
published by Fifeshire Journal Office, Cupar-Fife. 

g6 Ladies in the Field. 

it, he will have all the necessary know- 

A more abominable sight does not exist 
than the hard-riding whipper-in, he is, for 
the most part, a useless, conceited lad, who 
will never do any good in this world or the 

The second whip should be a nice, quiet 
boy, and a good horseman. 

Having got our establishment into work- 
iii a order, we w T ill now take it out for a 
hunt, which I will try to describe from the 
point of view indicated in my opening para- 

For a right good place to find a fox, give 
me a smallish wood. As a rule, hounds 
come away from a wood settled to their 
fox, which is not the case from a gorse, 
the first whip having been sent on to view 
the fox away. 

The field being placed by the master 
(who remains w T ith them)* in a favourable 
position, our huntsman throws his hounds 

* You will recollect that our master has been taught, and 
knows that whip's work is not his duty. 

Fox-hunting. 97 

into covert, encouraging them to spread 
and draw, being careful that they are in 
front of his horse. When a well-known 
voice proclaims the hitting of the drag, he 
cheers the pack to that hound, calling it 
by name, as " Hark to Melody ! Hark to 
her ! Hark ! ' But they fly to one another 
of themselves, and shortly there is a grand 

One ring round the wood, and the 
whipper-in's " Tally-ho, gone awa-a-a-y " is 
heard, he having taken good care to let 
the fox well away before holloa-ing. The 
huntsman now makes his way as fast as 
possible to the holloa, at the same time 
blowing his horn for the information of the 

-! 1 

-*— m- 

— as the hounds leave the covert, well settled 
to the scent. 

And now, I think, you can appreciate my 
preference of a wood to a gorse. 

Then, what a scene of excitement. Men 
and women in such a fuss and hurry. In 


98 Ladies in the Field. 

the whole lot only about three really calm 
and collected— the master (seeing a useful 
scent, and hounds with a fair start, is, for 
once in a way, delighted to say, " Catch 
them if you can ! "), and an oldish man or 
two still able to take their part, if hounds 
really run. 

Let me, like black care, sit behind one of 
these latter, and view the chase through his 
spectacles. He knows every gate and gap in 
the country for miles round, but this morning 
he sees he must desert his favourite paths 
if he wants to see the hounds run. All the 
dash of twenty years ago returns to him, 
as he slips his steady old hunter over a 
somewhat awkward corner, and (before most 
of the young ones take in the situation) 
is making the best of his way to the down- 
wind side of the now flying pack.* 

Well, here we are. And, first, let us take 
a look at the hounds. For a scratch lot, 
they are well together, and the careful 

* If you have a chance, always get the down-wind side of 
hounds running, because, even if you lose sight of them, you 
can still hear the cry, while, if you are up-wind, it is extra- 
ordinary what difficulty you have in hearing them. 

Fox-hunting. 99 

kennel management of the summer shows 

Now for the horsemen, see the hard gentle- 
man of tender years galloping from sheer 
funk at fences, that one of the old school jumps 
out of the most collected canter. And then, 
oh, ye gods, the girls! brave beyond words, 
jamming their unfortunate horses into every 
sort of difficulty, with elbows squared, and 
the sole of their foot exposed to the aston- 
ished gaze of those behind them. 

Alas ! alas ! the art of equitation will 
soon be a lost one. 

Fifteen minutes racing pace takes the 
nonsense out of all. The fox turns sharply 
down - wind, and the huntsman — who has 
been riding carefully and quietly — knows 
they have overrun it. Not one word does 
he say, letting his hounds swing their own 
cast. As they do not recover the line, he 
is compelled to give them a bit of assistance. 
With such a scent, he can go a little 
fast; so, at a sharp trot, he makes his 
cast back, his whip putting the hounds on 
to him. No noise nor rating, such as is 

i oo L a dies in the Field. 

only too frequently heard. An ugly black- 
and - white brute hits the seent down a 
hedgerow. He cheers the pack to him, well 
knowing it was not the lack of beauty that 
caused the old dog to be where he is. 

Now, stand back and see them hunt, with 
nothing to mar your pleasure in watching 
the wonderful instinct of a high-bred fox- 
hound, except the chatter of the male and 
female thrusters, describing to each other 
the wonderful leaps they have severally sur- 
mounted. # 

The fox now runs the road for a quarter 
of a mile. Whatever you do, keep off them, 
and give hounds room to turn.t 

The chase continues down -wind. How r 
they swing and try. Look how they drive 
as they hit the scent, then spread them- 
selves like a fan, only to fly together again 

*If you go out hunting, hunt. There is nothing more 
irritating to the real sportsman than the incessant chatter 
and laughter of people who take no intelligent interest in 
the business of hunting. 

t When hounds run down a road, get your horse on the 
grass siding. Nothing is so apt to force hounds beyond the 
scent as the rattle of horses' feet behind them. 

Fox-hunting. \o\ 

as a trusted comrade speaks to the 

"All this comes of condition," as my old 
gentleman says. 

Hark ! a holloa forward. 

Do you think a sensible man will lift them ? 

No ; so long as they can carry on, he 
knows they will go quicker than he can 
take them. 

More patient hunting, through sheep and 
over bad ground, the huntsman cheering his 
hounds, but never interfering with them, as 
they work out all the turns of a sinking 
fox for themselves. 

They'll have him directly, one can see by 
the determined rush of the older hounds. 
Sure enough ! In another minute they run 
from scent to view, and pull their fox down 
in the open. 

Five-an 1-forty minutes, and I ask you if 
this is not a sporting hunt. 

My old friend dismounts, leading his horse 
away, at the same time remarking, — 

' It is a nasty sight to see ladies watching 
a poor fox pullod to pieces." 


Ladies in the Field. 

Although a note od the subject of blow- 
ing a hunting-horn may not be of great in- 
terest to many people, still, I venture to 
think, no harm can be done in placing be- 
fore your readers how a huntsman ought to 
communicate on that instrument with his 
hounds and field. 

When he views a fox — 

^ — s* — ^ — 9 i* p ^ ^- 

In-drawing (especially in a big wood) — 


T 1 J^_ 

if hounds are wide of him, they stop to 
listen to the first note, and go to the second. 
To stop hounds off heel or riot — 



To call hounds in the open to cast- 


" Gone away " — 

i * -i i# - 

1? U U 1 4* ~t* fr - 



To draw hounds out of covert — 



a — s 

When a fox is killed — 

"V — ^ — s* — b* — b* — ^ — b* — >- 






Some people only use the long rattle at the 
death, but my opinion is that the eight 
very sharp notes should be blown, as hounds 
know that they mean a fox, and a fox only, 
whether alive or dead. 



By Miss Rosie Anstruther Thomson. 

Being almost a beginner myself, it is with 
diffidence that I commence to relate my small 
experiences in four - in - hand driving. It is 
only because I have had the advantage of 
watching a first-rate coachman in my father 
that I venture to do so — having taken care 
to gather from him many hints and wrinkles 
as to what to do, and not to do, and more 
especially the reason why. 

It is, I know, supposed to be easier to drive 
a team than a tandem, because two horses 
abreast are believed to be less foolish than 
two single horses. Personally, I think all 
horses are astonishingly foolish at times, and, 
for a lady, a tandem is much less heavy. 

Of course it depends in a measure on 
people's hands whether horses feel heavy 
and hang, but the weight of four horses on 
a woman's wrist is decidedly a strain, until, 


10S Ladies in the Field. 

through practice, she becomes accustomed to 
the feeling — that is, unless the team is so 
perfectly trained that they almost drive 

In driving a team, the first thing to be 
learnt is the art of " catching " a four-in-hand 
whip. It certainly holes easy enough, and 
many a rime have I watched my father, with 
one upward turn of his wrist, catch it unerr- 
ino-ly every time, and felt — "Of course any 
duffer could do that!" — eagerly proclaiming 
my ability to do it too. This, however, is an 
altogether different affair. Xo twisting no 
jerking is allowed, but simply a turn of the 
wrist, making something like a figure eight 
in the air, and leaving the thong caught on 
the stick (never try to catch your thong with 
the stick) with a loop above and a few turns 
round the stick below, which brings both lash 
and stick into your hand together. It is an 
impossible thing to describe, and the only way 
to learn it is to get some patient friend to 
show you how. And you will require all your 
Job-ish propensities, for it is by no means easy 
at rirst, and it makes you feel very foolish 

Team and Tandem Driving. 109 

when all your efforts fail, after it has looked 
so ridiculously simple in the hands of an ex- 
pert. Nothing looks worse than people essay- 
ing to drive a team without knowing how to 
catch their whip, and their wild attempts to 
attain that end are almost pathetic, for the 
flourishes they make, end invariably only in a 
hopeless complication and tangle. 

Having mastered your whip, the next thing 
to do is to defeat your reins — and beware that 
they do not defeat you, for they are very 
mixing, and the numbers one has to deal with 
make one almost giddy, after the ordinary 
single pair. In driving a team, or a tandem, 
you should not hold your reins one through 
each finger, as in riding, but put one rein — 
your near leader's — over the top of the fore- 
finger of your left hand, and the other leader's 
rein — the off — and the near wheeler's reins 
both between your first and middle fingers 
(the leader's upmost), while your off wheeler's 
rein comes lowest of all, between your middle 
and third finger. It looks rather complicated 
on paper, but is really very quickly learnt, 
especially if the wheeler's reins are a little 

r 10 Ladies in the Field. 

different in colour, having probably become 
darker through more constant wear. 

Mind you take your reins before you get 
on to your box, and never commit the folly 
of getting into a carriage before your coach- 
man, or coach woman, has hold of the reins, 
for it is both dangerous and foolish. 

Before vou take the reins, it is well to look 
round all the harness and satisfy yourself that 
the curb chains and throat lashes are loose 
enough (grooms are so fond of pulling every- 
thing up as tight as it will go, and often seem 
to treat throat lashes and curb chains on the 
same principle as girths). See that the bits 
are not too short in the horses' mouths, that 
your leaders are properly coupled, and also your 
wheelers. You cannot be too particular about 
detail in this case, and mind the pole chains 
are not too tight. They should be easy, so 
that they can just swing — the pole carrying 
itself without resting any weight on the horses 

After you have seen that all is right, go 
round to the off-side wheeler and take your 
leader's reins from off his pad, put them in 

Team and Tandem Driving. 1 1 1 

your left hand, with forefinger between, then 
pick up your wheeler's in your right hand, 
with forefinger between. Now pass them on 
to their ultimate destination (one on each 
side of the third finger of your left hand), 
and draw the near reins through your fingers 
till you get them so short (while you are still 
on the ground) that they will all come even 
when you are sitting on your box. Nothing 
denotes a muff more than omitting to do 
this. Of course the driver must judge how 
much rein to take in, with bis or her eye, 
before getting up. 

As you cannot swarm on to your box 
hampered by the reins in your left hand, you 
must take them in your right until you have 
settled yourself comfortably, and are sitting 
(not standing) firmly on your seat, which 
should not slant up too much, for one gets 
more purchase if one is not merely leaning 
against the box. Once there, change your 
reins back into your left hand, take the whip 
out of the socket, catch it, drop your hand, 
and set sail. 

The correct thing, I believe, is to have 

1 1 2 Ladies in the Field. 

the whip ready caught and laid across the 
wheeler's quarters. That is what they did 
iu old coaching days, and the driver used 
to take it up with his reins together in 
his right hand, with the whip pointing towards 
his right shoulder. He then got up, with 
reins and whip all ready to start as soon 
as he said the word i: Go ! " 

It would be a good thing if grooms at 
the horses' heads would let go the in- 
stant you give them the hint to do so. 
Nothing is more irritating to both horse 
and driver than a man who w T ill hold on 
after you have started. 

In starting, you should have your leaders 
a little shorter by the head than the wheelers, 
as the wheelers should start the coach. Let- 
ting the leaders start first is very likely to 
end in disaster. Like buckets in a well, 
they jump off with a jerk before the wheelers 
are ready. Just as they subside, off go the 
wheelers. The result is confusion, and pos- 
sibly a broken trace. # Take up your reins 

* One should always go out provided with an extra trace, in ease 
of accidents. 

Team and Tandem Driving. 113 

then, to avoid this calamity, feeling all your 
horses' mouths, but with the leaders' accentu- 
ated ; and, when you are quite ready to 
start, just drop your hand and chuckle to 
them. Never " kiss ' at your horses, and 
never say "Pull up," — both are shocking 
and unpardonable. 

As to the use of a four-in-hand, whip, 
there is almost as much art in hitting the 
leaders as there is in throwing a fishing- 
fly. You should always hit your leaders under 
the bars, and quietly, to avoid startling the 
other horses. In driving anything, whether 
one horse or four, you should always begin 
by touching your horse quite gently at first, 
just drawing the whip across his shoulder. 
If this hint is not enough, repeat it a little 
harder and a little harder still, so that he 
improves his pace gradually, this obviates 
the uncomfortable jolts and jerks caused by 
bad coachmen when using their whips ; they 
make the mistake of hitting hard the first 
time, the horse jumps forward and the 
passengers nearly dislocate their necks in 
consequence. Also, you should always hold 


ii4 Ladies in the Field. 

them a little tighter when you are going to 
use the whip to prevent their starting for- 
ward, for many horses will jump at the 
first touch, no matter how lightly it is laid 
across them. 

In turning a corner with a team or tandem, 
take up your leaders' reins a little and give 
them the hint which turn to take before you 
get to the corner (this is technically called 
' ; pointing your leaders"). They are generally 
quick enough at taking your hint, and then 
mind you allow enough space for the hind 
wheels of your coach. 

Always go quite slow off the top of a hill. 
Take up your leaders before you get to it. 
You can get safely down any hill, no matter 
how steep, provided you start slow enough 
off the top. The pace is bound to increase 
the further down you get, so it is wise not 
to start too fast, otherwise you end in an 
uncomfortable sort of gallop, with the coach 
overhauling the horses all the way. Some- 
times it is a good plan to increase your pace, 
supposing there is a hill to be got up just in 
front of you ; in that case, get your horses 

Team and Tandem Drivings 1 15 

into a gallop going down so as to get a run 
at the next hill, and the impetus will carry 
you up much easier if you have a real good 
swing at it. Of course a Ions; hill is a dif- 
ferent thing, especially if it is off the flat, 
and in every case your horses must be con- 

It is important that horses should be 
brought in cool, therefore one should do the 
last mile of the journey slowly and quietly 
that they may not be too hot on arriving 
at their stable. 

It is a bad thing to keep horses waiting 
at the start, they are not generally gifted 
with much more patience than we are, and 
it is worse to check them once they are on 
the move, therefore it is best, when all the 
passengers are on board, that the last to get 
up should sing out " Right," to let the coach- 
man know they are really ready to be off, 
and so prevent the risk of beiug implored 
to " wait just one moment ' for the for- 
gotten coat or umbrella, or the thousand and 
one things people always do forget until the 
very last instant, notwithstanding what is 

1 1 6 Ladies in the Field. 

usually the fact that they have been dawdling 
about hours before hand, with nothing else to 
do but to prepare themselves for the cold and 
rain which, in this climate, is about the only 
thing one can count on. 

Once off, try to leave your reins alone as 
much as possible ; it is irritating to your horses' 
mouths, and looks bad, to be always fidgeting 
and pulling at either one rein or the other. 
Don't let your leaders do all or nearly all 
the work, and going down hill don't let 
them do any, but catch hold of them pretty 
short just before you get to the brow of 
the hill and pull them back — a tiny bit on 
one side to prevent the wheelers treading 
on their heels. 

In taking up and shortening your reins, 
many people say you should always push 
them from in front with the right hand, 
and not draw them through the fingers 
from behind, though the latter way often 
seems the most natural, and all coachmen 
do not agree on this point. It looks better 
to drive with one hand, the left, and to keep 
the right for the whip and an occasional assist- 

Team and Tandem Driving. 1 1 7 

ance only ; but a woman must have wrists 
of iron to drive a team with one hand for 
long, especially as the wrist should always 
be bent in driving as well as in riding. 
Driving with straight wrists is altogether 
wrong. One thing never to be forgotten 
is always to make your wheelers follow your 
leaders, thereby you can generally assume 
an air of nonchalance, and pretend that you 
intended the sudden deviation off the middle 
of the road caused by the digression of the 
leaders, if your wheelers immediately follow 
in their footsteps. Should it be only a slight 
digression, a pull at the two reins between 
your first and second fingers both at once, 
will put them right immediately, as that gets 
at your off leader and near wheeler at the 
same time, and is a very quick way of getting 
the team straight again. It is better form 
not to use the break unless it is absolutely 
necessary. People bore one so who are always 
putting their drags on and off. I do not 
mean the " shoe/' as that, of course, must 
be put on, on occasions when the hill is steep 
to prevent the coach running on to the horses. 

1 1 8 Ladies in the Field. 

I remember once driving with my father 
in the Fife country, where the roads resemble 
switchback railways more than Christian high- 
ways. We had arrived at the top of a very 
steep pitch, and the grooms having slipped 
on the shoe, we were trundling serenely 
down, when, just as we reached the middle 
of the hill where the whole impetus of the 
coach was at its worst, snap went the chain 
and away rolled the shoe off down the hill 
on its own account, of course the sudden 
release sent the coach with a great lurch on 
the top of the wheelers, while we all clung 
on, craning our necks to see what was going 
to happen next. Quick as thought out flew 
the whip thong, and in an instant my father 
had touched the horses all round and we 
were flying down the hill at racing pace. We 
got to the bottom all safe and had galloped 
to the top of the next hill before he took 
a pull. It was very exciting for the time, 
and the only thing to be done under the cir- 
cumstances to keep the horses going quicker 
than the coach, but not an experiment one 
w r ould care to try with an inferior coachman. 

Team and Tandem Driving. 1 1 9 

We have all been mercifully blessed with 
nerve, and many a time has our courage 
been severely put to the test. We had a very 
near shave one day some years ago coming 
back from Ascot. We were driving all the 
way home to London after the last day's 
racing. Our off leader was a very violent, 
hot horse, called "The Robber," who kept 
raking and snatching at his bridle from 
morning till night. As we were passing 
through a little town — Brentford — we tried 
to worm our way between the pavement and 
a baker's cart, which was proceeding slowly 
in front and giving us very little room to 

This irritated The Robber, who, making a 
wild bounce forward, wrenched the bridle 
clean off the wheeler's head ! (His rein was 
passed through the upright terret on the 
top of the wheeler's bridle, and must have 
got caught somehow). The bridle flopped 
against the pole, which frightened the whole 
lot and they started off at a gallop. The 
baker, seeing this, thought we were anxious 
to race him, and set sail too. Naturally his 

1 20 Ladies in the Field. 

increasing pace excited our horses more than 
ever, and the three with bridles pulled their 
hardest, while the loose one pegged along 
with his head in the air. 

The off-horse being bitless, it was only the 
near-side rein that took effect on their mouths, 
so the end was that we edged nearer and 
nearer to the pavement, till, at last, the 
leaders turned and jumped on to it. At the 
same moment Captain Carnegy (who, luckily, 
was just sitting behind the box) leapt to the 
ground, and made a grab at the loose wheeler, 
catching him by the nose, and so saved us 
from some trouble. The leaders, in the 
meantime, had run straight into a draper's 
shop, and were curveting about on the top 
of four or five school children, whom they 
had hustled to the ground. 

It looked very nasty for a minute, but 
they were mercifully extracted all unhurt, 
and a few coins soon mollified their gaping 

Apropos of having the leaders' reins through 
the top terret, it is supposed to look smarter, 
but that it is not a very good plan is proved 

Team and Tandem Driving. 121 

by the aforesaid catastrophe. The rings on 
the wheelers' throat-lashes are really much 
better for ordinary use. 

My father used to drive a great deal, and, 
before he joined the Four-in-hand Club, he 
used to drive the Exeter and London mail- 
coachs regularly, three or four times a week, 
fifty years ago, when he was in the Ninth 
Lancers. It must have been hardish work, 
for he drove all night. He started at 
seven p.m. after his day's soldiering, and 
drove forty-four miles each way, get- 
ting back to barracks at seven p.m. next 

He tells me they only took eight passengers 
with them, four inside and four out, besides 
the coachman, and the guard who sat by 
himself behind, with his feet resting on the 
lid of the box in which lay the mail-bags, 
and always armed with two pistols and a 
blunderbuss, besides the horn. 

There is nothing so pretty as hearing 
a coach - horn really well blown, and very 
few indeed can do it properly. It is, 
unfortunately, a thing which people have 

122 Ladies in the Field. 

no conscience about attempting, though their 
listeners are not left in doubt as to whether 
they are proficients in the art from the first 
moment they seize the instrument. How 
senseless of failure they are, too, as 
they puff out their cheeks in fatal persever- 
ance, while tears start from their eyes, and 
the noise ! — well, that once heard, is not 
easily forgotten. Though it is not within 
the province of a coachman, it is well to 
know how to make " music on three feet 
of tin," for it is often very necessary to 
arouse sleepy carters and all the other 
drowsy souls who encumber the earth and 
the Queen's highway. 

Like catching a whip, it is an impossible 
thing to explain, beyond saying that you 
should begin by putting the tip of your 
tongue into the mouthpiece, and bring it 
sharply out again with a little tip sort of 
sound, and without puffing out your cheeks 
at all. The higher the notes you want 
to get, the harder you should compress 
your lips to the mouthpiece. And after 
all is said and done, the horn it is that 

Team and Tandem Driving. i 2 x 

'&' l * o 

generally retains the mastery, and blessed 
indeed is he who achieves anything beyond 
the air generally associated with the decrease 
of our ancient friend the cow. 

The first tandem I ever drove was a long 
time ago, when I was quite small, and ex- 
ceedingly proud I was of my turnout. It 
was very smart, all ivhite. 

It certainly had the merit of being unique, 
for my wheeler was a milk-white goat of 
tender years, while my leader was a dis- 
reputable - looking old bull-dog of equally 
snowy hue, and the harness was — well, 
pocket-handkerchiefs — mostly other people's. 

I drove them in a little go-cart on low 
wheels, and they went very well, poor 
little things, though I always had to run 
in front myself and call them, if I wanted 
them to go at all fast. 

That tandem came to a very sad and 
tragic end, for I grieve to say that, after 
many months of close friendship, my leader 
found it in his heart to devour the wheeler, 
which black deed brought my tandem to 
an abrupt termination. 

124 Ladies in the Field. 

Some years ago I got a lot of practice 
driving a scratch team clown from Banff- 
shire to Fife. A long journey, which took 
three days to accomplish, and over a very 
rough road too, for the first stage was 
forty miles right across the moors. Splendid 
wild scenery, but most horrible going, up 
hills and down dales, through water courses, 
and scrambling along old stage-coach roads, 
which could hardly be dignified now by 
the title of tracks. We scrambled up and 
down the steepest of mountains, and alto- 
gether felt rather relieved when at length 
we deserted the moor and gained the level 
road quite close to Balmoral. # It is a 
beautiful road from Balmoral into Brae mar, 
broad and level, with wide verges of grass 
on either side, and bordered by fir trees, 
lighted up here and there by the silver 
stems and golden leaves of graceful birches, 
while the river Dee dances along over the 

* Balmoral, with its grey pepperpots and tunnels, standing- 
out closely against the dark background of pine trees and 
fir woods, and overshadowed by the high mountain of Loch- 
na-gar, veiled by the soft, blue haze of distance peculiar 
to the Highlands. 

Team and Tandem Driving. 12 


rocks and stones by the side of the road, 
brawling its running accompaniment to the 
rattle of the bars and the rhythm of the 
horses' hoofs. Passing below the " Lion's 
Face," and just outside the beautiful 
" policies ' of Invermark, we trotted cheerily 
into the little town of Braemar, and there 
put up for the night. 

The second stage was further still, and w T e 
guessed it at about sixty miles on to Perth. 

Happily the horses came out looking 
fresh and fit, having fed and rested well, 
and, by ten o'clock, we were once more 
on the move. 

This time the roads were better, but 
still rather elementary in some places, 
and we encountered several of those old 
hogbacked bridges which are very trying 
to the pole, and more than likely to break 
it as it jerks up, on the top, when the 
leaders are going down one side, while 
the wheelers are still climbing up the 
other. We stopped an hour at Blair 
Athole on the way, and fed the horses, 
while w T e ourselves had lunch. 

126 Ladies in the Field. 

The team was pretty well steadied by this 
time, and as easy to drive as a single horse ; 
though, of course, it needed judgment to 
keep them trotting steadily on for the ten or 
eleven hours it took to do the journey. 

The last stage, from Perth to Fife, was 
on the beautiful old north road all the 
way, and, as it was only a distance of 
twenty miles, we did it leisurely, and 
turned into our own stable - yard about 
three hours after we started. 

It was great fun, and, after driving for 
so long, I felt I could have gone on for 
weeks, but for an acute knowledge of where 
every bone began and ended in both my 
arms and back. 

We accomplished that same journey twice 
that year ; the first time in spring, and 
again in September we came down after the 
grouse-shooting with a different team. That 
second time was not quite such a success, 
as the cold was something frightful, and the 
hurricanes that swept over the tops of those 
moorland hills nearly blew 7 us all away (we 
had a brake instead of the coach, as being 

Team and Tandem Driving. 127 

lighter for the horses and handier for the 
luggage, etc.). The whole of the first two 
days it poured unceasingly, a good, honest, 
unrelenting deluge, and I never shall forget 
our plight on arriving at Blair Athole, soaked 
to the skin, while my coat pockets were so 
full of water that my pocket handkerchief 
was floating about on the surface like a 
boat on a pond. 

We dried ourselves as best we could at 
the kitchen and laundry fires of the hotel, 
but w T e were just as sopped as ever ten 
minutes after we had started again. How- 
ever, 'tis a poor heart that never rejoices, 
and w T e all revived later in the evening, after 
we had become dry and warm and recurled 
(which is very important to a lady's happi- 
ness). Nothing makes one feel so miserable 
and dejected as the knowledge one is " quite 
unhanged," as an American was once heard 
to exclaim, on catching sight of her straight- 
ened fringe in the looking-glass. 

I have always been very fortunate in my 
cargo, which makes a vast difference to one's 
pleasure in driving. 

128 Ladies in the Field. 

I do not object to my passengers clinging 
on to the carriage, nor even to their pinch- 
ing each other, but people who shiver and 
squeak, and, worse than all, make clutches 
at the reins, ought really to be condemned 
to take the air in handcuffs, or else to 

My particular friends have always rather 
erred on the side of foolhardiness, and I shall 
never forget my intense surprise at the rash- 
ness displayed by a large party at a house 
where I was staying two years ago. Our 
host, being the possessor of a very nice team, 
had promised to drive us over to an Agri- 
cultural Show about to be held in an adjacent 
town on a certain Wednesday. We were all 
looking forward to our outing with great glee, 
and nothing occurred to agitate our minds 
until the very day of the anticipated treat, 
when early that morning a pencil scrawl was 
brought me from my host saying he had 
been suddenly called away to attend some 
important function at the opposite end of 
the country ; he therefore could not come 
to the show, but if I cared to take his place 

Team and Tandem Driving. 129 

and drive his team they should be ready at 
eleven o'clock. 

I immediately thought — the question was 
not so much would I like to drive the party, 
as would they like to be driven by me f 

However, after most anxious and searching 
inquirings on my part as to whether they 
were all insured, to my amazement they 
bravely asserted they would in any case 
risk it and come ! 

So round came the coach. I must confess 
to a slight misgiving on beholding that the 
usual near wheeler 'had been put off leader 
for a change, and in his stead they had 
given me an ancient and ill-favoured roan 
mare, who, I knew, had never been driven 
in a team before. 

No sign of apprehension escaped me, how- 
ever, as I clambered sternly on to the box. 
The start was a little sketchy, as the roan 
mare began by making a series of low curt- 
seys, instead of progressing in the ordinary 
way, while the ex- wheeler was a little out 
of his element too, as a leader. By the mercy 
of Providence I succeeded in landing my 


1 30 Ladies in the Field. 


coach-load safely throagh the narrow gate- 
way, and on to the field (filled as it was by 
a stupid Scotch crowd) and I pulled up in 
triumph by the barrier of the show-ring. 

I am afraid I must in honesty confess that 
I did run both my chariot and horses into 
one wire fence on the way — but the leaders 
would think, and the horses were all so deter- 
mined, that they knew the way better than 
/ did, that they had borne us half-way past 
the corner before I could get hold of them 
to turn down the way / wished to go. There 
was no harm done, luckily, and I managed 
to haul them out again undamaged, and pro- 
ceeded without further misadventure. 

There are not many things much more 
calculated to annoy, than a horse who always 
" thinks" the stupid beast who will stop at 
every shop passing through his own village on 
a Sunday, when he must surely see that all 
the shops are shut, or the animals who turn 
eagerly down every lane and corner that they 
come to, albeit they have passed by that road 
a thousand times before and have never been 
called upon to turn either to right hand or 

Team and Tandem Driving. 1 3 1 

to the left. And yet a horse who wont think 
is almost equally exasperating. Such a beast 
seems glad enough to lame himself or stamp on 
one's toes without thinking even for a moment 
whether it mig;ht be inconvenient or other- 
wise distasteful to his employers. 

One thing I have forgotten to put down, 
is what to do in the event of a wheeler lying 
on the pole (which of course shoves it to one 
side, and the coach must needs follow in its 
train). Supposing, then, your off wheeler 
happens to be performing this antic and is 
pushing the whole coach by his weight to 
the left side. You should pull your leaders 
to the right, and, by so doing, make them 
pull the pole across until you get the concern 
straight again. 

The only upset my father ever had with 
a team was caused by his omitting to do this, 
and that is why he told me never to forget it. 

I have been implicated in many other 
strange drives, notably two with tandems 
and one with three horses abreast. 

I will begin with the last one first, as it 
was a very transient experience. 

132 Ladies in the Field. 

One very snowy winter we had to take 
recourse to a sleclge to get about the roads 
at all, and although it is very delightful at 
first, when one hopes that every night will 
bring a nice thaw (how the frozen-out fox- 
hunter prays for that night), after three 
or four weeks' incessaut frost and snow the 
novelty of sleighing wears off and one longs 
for some new excitement. 

We had arrived at these extremes, my 
father and I, so, struck by a happy inspira- 
tion, we one clay determined to " yoke ' three 
ponies abreast in our sledge and see what 
would happen. We had not long to wait for 
the result, for no sooner were they harnessed 
and we leapt in, than away they all went with 
one accord down the avenue as hard as ever 
they could rattle, kicking great hard snow- 
balls into our faces all the way. Down the 
hill and across the grass like mad things. 
My father put the whip between his teeth 
and held on with all his might. I relieved 
him of his whip and sat tight, until we 
reached a big beech tree, with a sort of 
mound round its roots. Here the ponies dis- 

Team and Tandem Driving. 133 

agreed as to which side they should go, but, 
to avoid any jealousy or ill-feeling, they 
settled the question by one going to the 
right, while the other two elected to take 
the left hand side of the tree. This fairly 
finished our flight, for the sledge dashed up 
sideways against the roots and then turned 
over like a turtle. Of course we were both 
precipitated on to the road and were dragged 
along some little way by the rugs. Fortun- 
ately there was a gate which happened to 
be shut a little further on, and this ended our 
troubles by stopping the ponies altogether, 
and there they all stood with their heads 
craning over the fence, while we picked our- 
selves up and disentangled ourselves from 
the debris. Luckily the sledge being so 
very near the ground we were not hurt, 
and really, being dragged along by the rugs 
was rather a pleasant sensation. Though it 
is a good thing to remember, when one is 
being run away with, under ordinary cir- 
cumstances in a carriage, to undo the rugs 
and keep your legs clear, in case of accidents. 
How often have rugs and petticoats caused 

134 Ladies in the Field. 

one to fall headlong in getting in and out 
of "machines" (as our Scotch people say). 
Never shall I forget one Sunday morning, 
on our arrival at the church door, when I 
proceeded (in all the glory of my Sunday-go- 
to-meeting apparel) to climb down from the 
clog-cart, which was pretty high and fitted 
out with the most inhuman arrangements of 
steps. I tripped jauntily off the first step 
towards the second w T hen I became aware 
that my body was extended on the cold, 
cold ground, and my head was resting con- 
fidingly between the horses two hind feet. 
What had happened ? Oh, only my frock 
had remained swathed round the top step, 
that was all. Mercifully the horse was tame, 
and made no objection to my unexpected 
arrival among his hind legs. I had to crawl 
out from under the cart, covered with mud 
and speechless with fury. Two broken knees, 
and two scratched palms, gloves destroyed 
beyond all hope, and my hat jobbed over 
one eye, everybody in fits of laughter, of 
course, especially my own family. Why is 
it, I wonder, that one's own relations always 

Team and Tandem Driving. i 35 

display such extreme lack of good taste on 
such occasions ? I must say I arose from 
that puddle in anything but a Christian-like 
and Sabbatical frame of mind. 

I fared better, however, than another young 
friend of mine, who, in dismounting out of 
the very same cart, turned a Catherine wheel 
and alighted on the road with a broken arm. 

Be cautious, therefore, and always scramble 
out of a cart or carriage backwards, and, if 
the step be high, see that your dress descends 
with you and does not remain at the top. 

One of the tandem drives I mentioned 
happened some two years ago, when my 
sister and I were staying with some friends 
about sixteen miles from home. We had been 
out cub-hunting all morning, found an old 
fox, and had a capital run, which landed us 
quite close to our own front door just in time 
for luncheon. This, of course, we could not 
resist, so we put our horses in and to our joy 
discovered a dog-cart had arrived — sent by 
our kind hostess to convey us back to her 
house, while the groom led our horses home. 
Having sent them off under his charge we 

136 Ladies in the Field. 

proceeded to put the harness horse into his 
dog-cart, and were just about to start when 
a telegram arrived from my father (who was 
also away from home), ordering our groom to 
take a horse over to K — for him to hunt next 

As " K " happened to be the very place we 
were starting for, we determined to take his 
horse over ourselves. But how ? that was the 

We did not quite like the idea of tying him 
on behind, for well we knew he would be 
certain to tumble over something during the 
journey and contrive to break his knees. 

Why not tie him on in front we both ex- 
claimed, with that " one great mind which 

Of course that was obviously the way to 
get him over those intervening sixteen miles 
of hill. 

As he was the bigger of the two, and had 
never been driven in tandem before, we 
thought we had better put him in wheeler. 
Hastily pulling out the horse which was 
already harnessed we proceeded to try and fit 

Team and Tandem Driving. 137 

our own rotund steed between the shafts. 
His figure, however, was hardly slim enough 
for the position, and he began to resent the 
suggestion with some asperity. 

Satisfied that we should do no good with 
them that way on, we reversed the order ; 
replacing the original horse in the wheel, 
we hitched our obese animal on in front. We 
then started. I must say he fired some most 
alarming salutes with his heels going down the 
avenue, and terrified us for the safety of our 
borrowed wheeler, but the ensuing hills very 
soon settled him down and brought him to 
reason, which was well for us, as we had not 
started on our journey till pretty late, and it 
was rapidly becoming dark. Needless to say 
we had no lamps, the road was horribly rough 
and mountainous, and we had still many miles 
to go. At last we turned in to the lodge gates 
and up the avenue at K — . It was dark enough 
outside on the road, where I could just see 
my wheeler's outline in the gloom, but here 
among the trees (for the approach is more of 
a wood than an avenue) it was so pitch dark 
I positively could not see my own hand in 

138 Ladies in the Field. 

front of me. Having no light, we proceeded 
by faith, and appeared to be getting on ex- 
tremely well, when suddenly, with an awful 
jolt and a bump, the whole concern stopped 
short and I nearly flew off my perch with 
the jerk. My sister was out like a shot and 
got to the wheeler's head. He was still there, 
that she could feel ; groping a little further 
she collided with the leader, he was there 
too, that was a comfort, anything further she 
could not discover without the aid of a light. 

Fortunately we had provided ourselves with 
some matches just in case, and, on striking 
one, we discovered both horses standing on 
three legs, one of the leader's traces having 
caught round his off hind leg, while the 
other trace was twisted over the wheeler's 
near fore leg! They both behaved like true 
Britons, and waited patiently until we got 
them disentangled and set straight again, 
when we set off once more and managed 
to get to our destination without further 

The last exciting; drive I had with a tandem 
was again with my father, and again in the 

Team and Tandem Driving. 139 

snow." The roads were barely passable with 
snowdrifts piled up on either side six foot 
high or more. It so happened that Colonel 
Gardyne had been staying with us, and it 
behoved him to get away by a certain train 
on a certain day. 

Inexorable to our entreaties to postpone 
his departure, we were obliged to accede to his 
request that he might be borne somehow to 
the station. As the roads were very bad 
and too heavy with snow for one horse, we 
selected another out of the stable and put him 
on in front ; we then scrambled into the dog- 
cart and prepared for the worst. As it hap- 
pened, however, we were not prepared for 
what followed. The leader had not been in 
before and did not fancy the game, nor did 
he approve of the snow walls ; notwithstanding 
this we got to the station fairly intact and 
deposited our guest in safety. 

We had not proceeded far on our home- 
ward journey when a great black puffing 
engine made its appearance round a corner, 
with crimson eyes, and snorts, and noise, and 
all the honours attendant on a perambulating 

140 Ladies in the Field. 

thrashing machine. Horrid things they are at 
the best of times, but more especially objection- 
able when one has a couple of three-cornered 
horses, one behind the other. Of course the 
effect of this apparition was wild confusion, 
the leader waltzed round and round till he 
got tied up into a knot, then set to work, and 
kicked himself free, breaking every stitch of 
harness on his body. 

We had no extra tackle (which was foolish), 
therefore the only thing to be done was to get 
him home. Luckily we were not far away, so 
I scrambled on to his back and rode him, using 
the remains of the pad as a pommel and got 
him in all safe. 

My father having some business in the 
neighbouring town went on in the cart alone. 
Soon he overtook an ally, who, bent on the 
same errand, was stumping bravely through 
the slush (having wisely refrained from taking 
out his own horses on such a road). On being 
offered a lift he mounted gladly, thankful to 
curtail his disagreeable tramp, and reassured 
by the sight of a single and confidential- 
looking quadruped. His joy, however, was 

Team and Tandem Driving. 141 

shortlived, for the very next turn happened to 
lead straight up to our park gates. Dobbin 
(being one of the genus I object to so strongly 
who "think") instantly thought, and made 
a dive for the corner. The wheel, colliding 
violently against the curb-stone, precipitated 
the unfortunate passenger headlong into a 
snow-drift, where he remained half buried, 
with only a large pair of feet flapping in the 
air to indicate the spot where the casualty 
had occurred. 

Eosie Anstruther Thomson. 



By Mrs C. Martelli. 

My personal experiences of tiger-shooting in 
India have been neither on a large scale nor 
of a very heroic and exciting nature ; yet, 
such as they are, I gladly place them upon 
record for the sake of those who may not 
have had the good fortune to see sport of 
this particular kind. Tiger-shooting, how- 
ever, has been so well and so often described 
that I cannot hope to be able to tell anything 
of a novel character about it. 

It has been my good fortune to "assist" 
(in the French sense of the word) at the death 
of five tigers. And here I should premise 
that, according to the laws of Indian sport, a 
tiger is considered the trophy of the gun that 
first hits it, whether that shot prove fatal or 
not. As will be seen presently, I succeeded in 
killing the third of the five, but it was my 
husband's tiger and not mine, as my first shot 


146 Ladies in the Field. 

missed it. I did not kill the first and second 
of the five, but they were my tigers because I 
was the first to hit them. In the case of the 
fourth tiger I was the first to hit, and with a 
second shot I killed it ; but the tiger was 
mine by virtue of the first shot, not the 
second. This is a not unfair rule, because 
the first shot often proves fatal, even though 
for a time the tiger manages to get away, 
and if some rule of the kind were not in 
existence, and the tiger were supposed to 
belong to the gun that appeared to administer 
the cowp de grace, there would be a great 
deal of indiscriminate firing, which would re- 
sult, to say the least of it, in the skin being 
hopelessly ruined. 

But to come to my story. In January 
1887, my husband, Colonel Martelli, who was 
at the time Political Agent and Superinten- 
dent of the Estates of Eewa, Central India (the 
Maharajah being a minor), was making his 
annual tour, and we were in camp at Go- 
vindghur, about fourteen miles from the capital. 
There were with us my sister, the agency sur- 
geon and the usual tribe of camp followers. 

Tigers I have shot. 147 

After we had been in camp about a week, a 
shikari brought us news that there was un- 
questionably a tiger not many miles away. 
To discover more exactly where he was, 
buffaloes were tied as bait to trees in four or 
five places, at a radius of three or four miles 
from the camp, and we waited in much ex- 
citement for further intelligence. As ap- 
parel of a very noticeable or attractive 
character is obviously unsuited to a tiger-hunt, 
I gave my native tailor overuight some plain 
cotton material, and he presented it to me in 
the morning, dyed green and made up into a 
serviceable dress. He had also covered my 
Terai sun-hat with the same material. Early 
in the morning word came into camp that we 
were to be on the alert, and, about ten a.m., 
news reached us that the tiger had been 

We started off immediately, my husband 
and I on one elephant, and the doctor and my 
sister on another. Seated behind us in the 
howdah was a shikari, carrying our guns. 
My weapon was a 450 double express rifle, by 
Alex. Henry. 

148 Ladies in the Field. 

We had had Chota Hazrie, so took a lunch- 
breakfast with us. Passing on our way what 
we thought would be a charming spot for our 
dejeuner, we left our servant Francis there 
with our hamper. Imagine our disgust when, 
upon reaching this spot, hungry and expect- 
ant, on our return, we found that Francis 
had disappeared, and with him all traces of 
the hoped-for meal. It turned out afterwards 
that some bears had come unexpectedly upon 
the scene, and Francis had, not altogether 
unnaturally, sought refuge in flight. 

Ignorant of the fate of our breakfast, how- 
ever, we pushed on, and about two miles from 
camp met the head shikari — Mothi Singh by 
name. Acting under his instructions we dis- 
mounted and followed him through the jungle. 
We pushed along what professed to be a path, 
but of which all I can say in its favour is that 
it was slightly better than, the jungle of grass 
and underwood through which it passed, more 
than once indeed boughs and branches had to 
be cut down to make it possible for my sister 
and myself to get along. 

We at length reached a rock, fifteen or 

Tigers I have shot. 1 49 

twenty feet in height, on the summit of which 
Mothi Singh placed us, and past which the 
tiger would be driven. I was to have first 
shot. The beaters, three hundred or four 
hundred in number, now bes;an their work, 
shouting, beating drums and tom-toms, blow- 
ing bugles, firing blank cartridges, and 
steadily pressing forward in our direction. 
We, of course, maintained the most profound 
silence, and watched with the deepest interest 
for the appearance of the tiger. As we waited, 
all sorts of creatures, scared by the beaters, 
passed us — pig and deer, pea-fowl and jungle 
fowl, the majestic sambhur, and the pretty 
nilghai, not to mention foxes and jackals, went 
by within shot, but for to-day, at anyrate, they 
were safe. At last came the tig;er. He ad- 
vanced like an enormous cat, now crouching 
upon the ground, now crawling forward, now 
turning round to try and discover the mean- 
ing of the unwonted noise behind him. When 
he was about eighty yards from us I fired and 
hit him on the shoulder ; then the others fired, 
and the tiger bolted. At this moment Hera 
Sahib, the commander-in-chief of the Rewa 

150 Ladies in the Field. 

army, and who had been directing "the beat," 
came up on an elephant, and, as he had 
brought with him a spare elephant, my hus- 
band mounted the latter, and they went off 
together in search of the tiger, leaving us 
upon the rock. 

Two hours later they came upon the 
wounded tiger hiding in the jungle. The 
moment he saw that he was discovered, he 
charged Hera Sahib's elephant, and the latter, 
being a young animal, bolted. The tiger then 
turned and charged the elephant my husband 
was riding, which stood his ground. The 
tiger, charged underneath the elephant, but 
fortunately my husband got a snap-shot at 
him and rolled him over. He crept into 
the jungle again, however, but was now 
past serious resistance, and although he 
made a brave attempt to reach his enemies, 
he was easily despatched. He measured 
over nine feet in length. 

My husband's tour over, we returned to our 
head -quarters at Eewa, and a very few days 
later, in the dusk of the evening, news came 
that another tiger had been seen in the same 

Tigers I have shot. 1 5 l 


neighbourhood as that in which we shot the 
first. My husband and I started off at three 
the next morning in a dog-cart ; our horse was 
only half broken in, and I was driving. 
About eleven and a half miles from Govind- 
ghar our steed deposited us in a ditch, and 
we were compelled to walk the rest of the 
way there. At Govindghar elephants were 
in waiting for us, and we made our way 
ill much the same fashion as on the previous 
occasion to the rock of which I have already 
told. The beat, too, was precisely similar to 
the former one. Presently the tiger ap- 
peared. I was so struck by his magnificent 
appearance, that, although I was to have 
first shot, I waited so long that eventually 
my husband and I fired together. The tiger 
facing us, I fired again, and then, in his rage, 
he charged straight at the rock on which we 
were standing:. As he came on I fired a third 
time, and hit him between the shoulders. He 
disappeared somewhere at the base of the 
rock, and, although he was out of sight, 
we could hear him growling with pain. We 
did not dare, of course, to come down from our 

152 Ladies in the Field. 

rock, as we had no idea where he was, or 
to what extent he was crippled, but, after 
waiting about half-an-hour, Hera Sahib 
came up on an elephant and killed him. 
It turned out that the tiger had crept under 
another rock at the base of that on which 
we were standing, and was too badly 
wounded to come out and face his foes. 
This tiger w r as a much handsomer, and a 
larger one than the first. 

Not long after the above, my husband 
was appointed Political Agent, Eastern States, 
Rajputana, which consists of Bhurtpore, 
Dholepore, and Karowlie. Each state has 
its own Bajah. I did no more tiger- 
shooting until the early part of the year 

In February then we went to Karowlie, 
and on our arrival there we were met by 
the Maharajah, who at once informed us 
that news had just arrived that a tiger 
was in the neighbourhood, and courteously 
asked us to accompany him in pursuit of 
it. We gladly accepted this invitation, and 
were told to hold ourselves in readiness, as 

Tigers I have shot. 153 

a gun would be fired from the palace as soon 
as definite information arrived, and it would 
then be necessary to start at once. 

The gun was fired at about noon and off 
we went, the Maharajah and his retinue, and 
our two selves. We were conducted through 
very thick jungle to the Maharajah's shooting- 
box, about nine miles distant. We were able 
to ride only a portion of the way, part of 
the remainder I was carried in a "Tonjon' 
(sedan chair), and for the rest of the journey 
I had to walk and struggle through the dense 
jungle as best I could. The shooting-box we 
found to consist of a small stone tower, built 
on the edge of a ravine. We were posted 
upon the top of the tower, and the tiger was 
to be driven up the ravine and within shot 
of our rifles. 

The Maharajah is a very keen sportsman 
and a capital shot, but with great politeness 
he insisted upon my firing first. Alas, when 
the moment arrived — and the tiger — the 
jungle was so thick that I could hardly see 
the animal, and, I regret to say, I missed him 
altogether. My husband fired and wounded 

154 L a dies in the Field. 

the tiger severely ; I then fired again and 
killed him. 

News was brought to us not to leave our 
post as there was another tiger in the jungle. 
The Maharajah had been much put out at 
my missing my first shot and so losing the 
tiger, but insisted courteously on my having 
an opportunity of retrieving my disaster ; of 
course I was only too glad to avail myself 
of his kindness. 

A few minutes later the second tiger ap- 
peared, and, getting a better view of him 
than of his predecessor, I succeeded in hit- 
ting him in the chest. The Maharajah then 
fired and put a second bullet into him ; I 
fired and gave him his coup de grdce. 

Within a week news was brought to 
Karowlie that another tiger had made his 
appearance, this time about ten miles away, 
and in quite another direction. The whole 
country in this neighbourhood was cut up 
by ravines, and when we arrived at the 
place indicated to us, we found that there was 
no rock which we could turn into a citadel, 
no haudy tree from whose branches we might 

Tigers I have shot. 155 

fire upon the foe, and of course no shooting- 
box ; and, as in addition, it was quite impos- 
sible to bring the elephants along, we had to 
take our stand on foot and hope for the best. 
Should the wounded tiger charge us, we 
should have to make sure of stopping him 
before he could reach us. With us, on this 
occasion, were three young officers, who had 
never been present at a tiger-hunt, and who 
probably had never seen a tiger out of the 
Zoological Gardens. Accordingly, they were 
allowed to draw for choice of places and for 
first shot. They naturally selected the coign 
of vantage, and between them slew the tiger. 
1 did not even see him till he was dead 
They went off immediately, in a great state 
of elation ; but the Maharajah told me that 
there was a panther in the jungle. Presently 
the animal came in sight with a tremendous 
rush, and I fired, wounding him severely ; 
but although we traced him for some miles 
we saw no more of him and he got away. 

This is all I have to tell. If, from the 
description I have given, anyone should be 
inclined to say that the tiger does not appear 

156 Ladies in the Field. 

to have much chance of escape, the answer 
is that it is not intended that he should have 
any. Tigers are shot in India, not as game is 
in England for hunting, to give amusement 
to men, horses and dogs, not as in pheasant 
or partridge shooting, with a remote re- 
ference to the demands of the table, but to 
save the lives of the natives and their cattle. 
If you don't kill the tiger he will kill you. 
But although the odds are on the shikari 
and against the tiger, whether you fire 
from the back of an elephant, from the top 
of a rock, or in the branch of a tree, there is 
always room, unfortunately, for a misad- 
venture, and consequently tiger-shooting will 
always be a useful school for endurance, judg- 
ment and self-reliance. 

Kate Martelli. 



By Miss Leale. 

At the Bisley Meeting of 1891, I took 
part in some of the competitions open to 
all comers. The measure of success which 
I achieved has gained a publicity for which 
I was scarcely prepared, and has brought 
around me a group of correspondents who 
have plied me with questions as to my 
experience in rifle-shooting, and the rise 
and progress of my devotion to an accom- 
plishment so unusual for ladies, and even 
deemed by many to be somewhat out of 
their reach. 

I purpose, therefore, to put a few notes 
together, in which I shall endeavour to 
answer some of the questions proposed to 
me, and to relate such passages of my ex- 
perience as may serve to encourage those of 
my own sex who may have some ambition 

in this direction. 


160 Ladies in the Field. 

It was a little more than four years ago 
when I first handled a Martini-Henry rifle. 
I was looking on at the shooting one after- 
noon at the Guernsey "Wimbledon," and 
wondered if it was a very difficult thing to 
hit the target, which appeared to me to 
be such a mere speck when seen from so 
great a distance. I had, some time before 
this, fired a few shots with a fowling-piece 
at an impromptu target, but rifle-shooting 
looked to me far more real and interesting. 
At length I succeeded in persuading my 
father to allow me to try my hand at a shot 
with a rifle. 

I remember that there was some discussion, 
at that time, about the recoil, but as I was so 
very ignorant of the management and powers 
of the rifle, I did not give this really serious 
question the necessary attention. I believe 
that had I heard, at this early stage, as much 
about recoil as I have since, I should probably 
have been afraid to shoot with a Martini. 

A certain militia man, who is now one of 
our best shots, related to me a curious 
incident which happened to him when he 

Rifle-Shooting. 1 6 1 

first fired with a service rifle. He was 
shooting in the prone position ; and, after 
pulling the trigger, he heard a great noise, 
and immediately there was a good deal of 
smoke about ; but the rifle had disappeared. 
On looking round, however, he saw his rifle 
behind him ! He had been resting the under 
part of the butt lightly on his shoulders, and 
holding the rifle loosely ; thus the force of the 
recoil had actually driven it past him over his 

I have heard of many other cases of the 
recoil becoming dangerous ; but I believe it 
is from fear of being "kicked" that recruits 
fail to hold their rifles properly while pulling 
the trigger. 

In my own case, certainly, " ignorance was 
bliss"; for, in firing my first shot, I was 
enabled to give my whole attention to keep- 
ing the rifle steady, and placing it firmly 
against my shoulder for that purpose alone 
undisturbed by any fear of recoil. And I 
believe that this absence of fear is the chief 
reason why I have been able to use a Martini- 
Henry rifle without suffering from the recoil. 


1 62 Ladies in the Field. 

Thinking from the experience of my first 
shot that shooting was easy, I was anxious to 
go on with it. Many experienced shots 
volunteered information which was very 
helpful ; but I soon discovered that I was 
wrong in thinking that rifle-shooting was 
merely a matter of seeing the bull's eye over 
the sights. The first difficulty was that of 
keeping the rifle steady. I had to learn 
exactlv how to hold it and for this I had to 
study position. 

I had fired my first shot in the kneeling 
position. I did not then know of any other, 
except the standing and lying down. The 
former I could not manage, as the rifle was 
too heavy to hold up without any support 
for the arms ; and the lying down position 
seemed to me, then, to require a great deal 
of practice. This conjecture has been well 
justified by my subsequent experience. I 
have never since fired from the kneeling 
position, as a much better one was recom- 
mended to me, namely, the sitting position. 
In this way I can have a rest for both arms, 
which is an advantage over the other 

Rifle-Shooting. 163 

method in which it is only possible to rest 

Having chosen a position, I found that it 
needed a great deal of studying. It was then 
that I discovered another great difficulty, i.e., 
that of pulling the trigger without disturbing 
the aim. I received some advice on this 
subject which at first sounded rather curious. 
I was told to squeeze the trigger "like I 
would a lemon " and to let it go off without 
my knowing. This accomplishment requires 
a great deal of practice, but is well worth the 
trouble of learning ; for I am confident that 
it is the great secret of good shooting. 

During my first few months of shooting, 
I only used to think of taking a correct 
aim at the bull's eye, and trying to keep 
still while pulling the trigger. I was so 
absorbed in this effort, that it did not occur 
to me for some time that there was much 
more than this dexterity to be gained in 
order to be sure of making a good score. 
There remained the great question of find- 
ing the bull's eye. 

This, of coursce, involves the scientific 

164 Ladies in the Field. 

part of rifle-shootirjg ; and although, at 
first, I was alarmed at the difficulty of the 
subject, I soon saw that the shooting would 
become tame and monotonous without it. 

The range where I was in the habit of 
practising (and still do practise) is near 
the sea. The targets have the sea for a 
background, and, as is often the case near 
the sea, we have a great deal of wind. It 
was quite easy to understand that the 
wind would affect the course of the bullet ; 
but it did not turn out to be so easy as 
it appeared, to calculate in feet and inches 
how much allowance should be made for 
this source of disturbance. Fortunately 
1 'young shots" are not expected to be able 
to find out this for themselves by the 
long and painful discipline of repeated 
failure ; and it is always easy for them 
to obtain advice from persons on the range 
who have had more experience than them- 
selves. I was very fortunate in that way 
myself, and feel very grateful for the good 
instruction I have received from several 
" crack-shots," 

Rifle-Shooting. 1 6 5 

There are two things to be considered — 
the elevation and windage. 

The elevation does not vary so much as 
the windage. Having once found the nor- 
mal elevation of a given rifle for the 
different ranges, it will not afterwards 
need very great alterations. But the differ- 
ent effects of wind, light, and atmosphere 
upon it are interesting, and require care- 
ful attention. 

If the wind is blowing straight down 
the range from the targets, it will natur- 
ally increase the resistance for the bullet. 
Also, by retarding its speed the trajectory 
will be lowered, thus causing the shot to 
strike below the spot aimed at. To coun- 
teract this the aim must be taken higher, 
but the rifle is so constructed that by rais- 
ino- the slide of the backsight a little, aim 
may be taken at the original spot. 

When the wind is blowing towards the 
targets, from the firing point, it has little 
or no effect upon the bullet, as the speed 
of the latter is so much greater than that 
of the wind. A side wind will slightly 

1 66 Ladies in the Field. 

alter the elevation of the bullet, in a ratio 
to its strength. 

Most good shots agree that it is safer 
always to take up the same amount of 
foresight into the alignment ; as by 
taking a large foresight at one time and 
a small one at another, one is apt to get 
confused, especially when other matters 
have to be considered at the same time. 
But it must also be remembered that the 
different degrees of the light's intensity 
have a marked effect upon the appearance 
of the foresight, and must be allowed for. 
If the light is very dull, the foresight 
will not be very distinctly seen ; and, 
unconsciously, more of it will be brought 
up. This has the effect of bringing up 
the muzzle end of the rifle, and of giving 
the bullet a higher trajectory, thus causing 
the shot to strike high. But, on the 
other hand, if the light is bright the 
foresight is easily seen, and less of it 
is unconsciously taken up, so causing 
the shot to drop. These differences in 
the appearance of the foresight are cor- 

Rifle- Shooting. 167 

rected by raising the backsight in a bright 
light, and lowering it when dull. 

Mirage and refraction are very trouble- 
some matters to deal with, for the bull's 
eye appears to be where in reality it is 
not. And it is almost impossible to 
ascertain the allowances which should be 
made for this source of error without 
the advantage of a trial shot. 

The condition of the atmosphere as to 
temperature and humidity has much to 
do with the fouling inside the rifle. In 
hot, dry weather it is apt to get hard 
and dry. After a few shots have been 
fired, it cakes and fills up the grooving 
of the rifle. Consequently the amount of 
the spin of the bullet is affected, often 
causing the shots to drop, and spoiling 
all chance of accurate shooting. This can 
be avoided by blowing down the rifle 
after each shot, when the moisture of 
the breath will greatly improve the con- 
dition of the encrusted barrel. Many rifle 
shots have indiarubber tubes for this 
purpose, and blow down the barrel 

168 Ladies in the Field. 

through them from the breech end. 
Some competitors even take more trouble ; 
for, after each shot, they shut the breech, 
and get up from their position in order 
to blow down from the muzzle end. 
This method involves more exertion, but 
it is evident that any moisture blown 
down with one end stopped, and thus 
permitted to accumulate, must of necessity 
be more effective in cleansing the barrel. 

In warm, damp weather, the fouling 
becomes moist and greasy, letting the 
bullet slip through easily. These differ- 
ences in elevation caused through foul- 
ing can also be allowed for by altering 
the elevation on the rifle between the 

An ingenious little instrument called 
the Vernier is used for measuring the 
elevation. When it is considered, that, 
at 600 yards distance from the targets, 
the difference of Troth of an inch on the 
backsight will be equal to half a foot on 
the target, it will evidently be of the 
greatest importance to be able to adjust 

Rifle- Shooting. 1 6 9 

the sights accordingly. For this purpose 
Verniers are made so delicate as to move 
the backsight through such a small space 
as the rioth of an inch at a time. By 
this means of adjustment, should a shot 
strike straight above the bull's eye, you 
have only to notice the exact amount of 
the error in inches, and then the eleva- 
tion can be lowered xioth of an inch, or 
a "degree" as it is called for every six 
inches the shot is above the mark ; pro- 
vided always that the other conditions 
are the same as before. 

Theoretically, wind is far more easy to 
deal with than elevation ; for, if the wind 
blows across the targets from the left, it 
would naturally drive the bullet to the 
right. Therefore, by aiming in the direc- 
tion the wind is blowing from, proper 
allowance can be made. The difficulty 
lies in the practical part, i.e., of judg- 
ing exactly how far the bullet will be 
driven from its true course. Practice is 
the only possible teacher in this matter ; 
and it is wonderful to see how some ex- 

1 70 Ladies in the Field. 

perienced shots will estimate the strength 
of the wind, acting only on their own 
judgment, and succeed in hitting the bull's 
eye at first shot, and especially when we 
learn that at 600 yards as much as fif- 
teen feet of windage is sometimes required. 
But at times there seems to be a certain 
amount of chance attached to the ''find- 
ing of the bull's eye." I have heard 
of a competitor who had fired several 
shots and could not find the bull's eye. 
He was firing in a competition called 
" Cartons," in which the most central hit 
takes the highest prize. After several 
unsuccessful shots, he wished to alter some 
part of his rifle and for this purpose 
turned it upside down. In doing so he 
accidently pulled the trigger. This turned 
out to be a singular instance of good 
luck, for the shot not only was fired 
without harming anyone, but actually 
hit the very centre of the target ! This 
undesigned shot proved to be the best 
Carton of the meeting, bringing the com- 
petitor a prize of several pounds. I have 

Rifle- Shooting. 1 7 1 

often heard it said on the range that 
" there is no luck in shooting except 
bad luck ; " and it certainly is very dis- 
appointing to lose several points in a 
competition before you succeed in finding 
the bull's eye ; but it is still more dis- 
appointing, when, having found it, the 
wind keeps changing its force or direc- 
tion, and so increasing your perplexity. 
The only consolation in this disagreeable 
experience is, that a great deal more is 
]earnt from one bad score under these 
circumstances, than from many good ones 
made with a steady wind. 

All my remarks have referred to target- 
shooting only, in those cases where com- 
petitors are not hurried, but can take 
their own time to paint their sights and 
adjust them with " machines," carefully 
marking the allowance for windage on 
their sights, so that they may aim at 
the bull's eye every time, and have no 
more to think of but holding the rifle 
steady. I use all these helps myself, 
finding them a great advantage ; and I 

172 Ladies in the Field. 

believe that studying all these minute 
but necessary particulars is a good train- 
ing for those who may have to use their 
rifles for more serious purposes than com- 
peting for prizes at rifle meetings. For, 
although in practical shooting they will 
be obliged to use the rifle just as it is 
served out, they will prove themselves to 
be experienced shots, and know how to 
handle their weapons with that skill which 
is always the result of careful training 
and practice. 

Winifred Louisa Leale. 



By Diane Chasseresse. 

Deer-stalking is like marriage, it should 
not be " enterprised nor taken in hand un- 
advisedly or lightly," nor should it be 
undertaken by those who are weak and 
delicate, for it entails many hardships and 
much exposure to wet and cold. 

Imagine the state of a thorough - bred 
racehorse, if it were kept standing for 
hours in a snowstorm, with no clothing on, 
directly after it had run a race. Yet, a 
like sudden change from violent exercise 
taken in great heat, to hours of immov- 
ability in the most bitter cold, is of constant 
occurrence when stalking deer in the late 
autumn, in the Highlands of Scotland. 
For instance, the stalker may have to 
toil with wearied feet up a steep hill, 
under the burning rays of an October 
sun, when, suddenly and unexpectedly, 


176 Ladies in the Field. 

some deer will come in sight, hurry- 
ing over the ridge in front of him 
to seek for shelter from an impend- 
ing storm. Ketreat is impossible, there 
is no time even to choose a hiding- 
place; the stalker must throw himself face 
downwards, most likely in the middle of 
a bog, and remain there without moving 
hand or foot as long as the storm lasts and 
the deer remain in sight. In the meantime 
the sun has vanished, and the day has 
changed from broiling heat to piercing cold ; 
and, while the wind gets up and the hail 
beats pitilessly on his prostrate form, the 
stalker must be ready, with numbed and 
aching finger to pull the trigger of his rifle, 
the moment the darkness has lifted suffi- 
ciently, for him to make out which are the 
largest and most shootable deer. 

It will be seen from this that deer-stalking 
is not all pleasurable excitement, and that 
those who go after deer must be prepared 
to endure a certain amount of physical dis- 
comfort. Pipes cannot be smoked, nor can 
whisky be imbibed within sight and within 

Deer- Stalking and Deer- Driving. 1 7 7 

shot of deer ; neither can sandwiches be 
munched, nor may you even take a drink at 
a burn. The soul of the sportsman must 
soar above hunger and thirst — such luxuries 
as two o'clock lunch and five o'clock tea 
are not for him— even the simple use of a 
pocket-handkerchief is denied him under 
certain circumstauces. 

The paraphernalia needed by the stalker 
is very limited in extent. It consists of a 
rifle, a dozen cartridges, a telescope, and a 
long knife. Stout, easy-fitting nailed boots 
are de rigueur for walking ; also thick 
stockings — not necessarily rough or irritating 
to the skin — and neutral - coloured clothes, 
light in weight. Nothing else is essential. 
I have given elsewhere a detailed description 
of the dress I myself found most suitable 
for the hills, so I will only repeat here 
that it should be of either drab or grey 
cloth — water-proof, but not air-proof — with 
a dash of pink, green, or orange in it 
according to the prevailing colour of the 
ground over which you have to stalk. A 
long grey macintosh of the best quality 


178 Ladies in the Field. 

can be carried in the forester's pocket and 
put on during heavy storms. This should 
have a separate hood, which may be used 
either to sit on, or as a protection to the 
head and neck from rain and wind. 

The fewer people the stalker has to accom- 
pany him the more likely he is to get sport. 
One man to carry the rifle, or stalk for him, 
is sufficient. It is quite unnecessary to 
have a second forester with dogs, as they 
only disturb the deer and are seldom 

Foresters, whether from an imperfect 
knowledge of English or from " thinking 
the more," are usually a silent and uncom- 
municative race. The sort of way an 
ignorant — or supposed to be ignorant — 
sportsman is treated when sent out with 
an experienced stalker for the first time, 
is much after this fashion. 

The forester shoulders the rifle and goes 
up the side of a hill with quick, elastic step, 
and you follow with aching muscles and 
panting breath. At last there is a halt, 
and he takes out his glass and looks care- 

Deer-Stalking and Deer-Driving. 1 79 

fully over the ground, first searching the 
places where deer are usually to be dis- 
covered, then scanning the rest of the vast 
expanse of hill and valley spread out before 
him. You, also, take out your glass and 
strain your unaccustomed eye in lookino- 
for deer. After a time you find some, and 
wonder if by chance they have escaped the 
keen eye of the forester, for he has shut his 
telescope, and is silently descending the hill 

" Sandy ! " you call out. 

" Surr — mem ? " correcting himself as he 
remembers your sex. 

" Did you see those deer ? " 

" Hwhich deer was it ? " 

"There are some deer feeding on that 
green patch, didn't you see them ? " 

" Ou— ay." 

" But wouldn't they do to go after ? 

" They're no verra bug, but I'm thunkin 
one of them micht do," and Sandy moves 
on ao-ain. 

" But, Sandy ! " 

" Suit — mem ! " 

180 Ladies in the Field. 

" Why can't we go after the one that 
might do f " 

" We'll require to go round a bittee and 
come doon on them." 

To " go round a bittee ' you find to 
your cost means to go right back to the 
bottom of the hill whence you came, to 
tramp miles round the base of the mountain, 
and finally to climb up over the top so as 
to come down on the deer. On the way 
you come across some small staggies which 
decline to move, being quite well aware that 
they are not worth shooting. Fearing they 
will spoil all your sport by moving the other 
deer, Sandy lies still and taps two stones 
together to frighten them a little, but they 
still refuse to go away and only stare 
stupidly at you. 

"Ye'll jist wave yer hwhite mop," whispers 

You wonder what he means, as you 
do not generally carry mops about the 
hills. Then Sandy, seeing your bewilder- 
ment, makes a gesture with his hands 
over his face in the most solemn manner, 

Deer-Stalking and Deer-Driving. 1 8 1 
and you are reminded of the children's 

game :- 

" I wipe my face with a very good grace, 
Without either laughing or smiling." 

and produce your white pocket-handkerchief 
— which certainly, there is no denying, has 
been used as a mop pretty often on the 
way up — and waving it at the deer, have the 
satisfaction of seeing them trot away in a 
direction where they will do no harm. 

After that Sandy says nothing more, 
but goes trudging on ahead till he stops to 
take the rifle out of its case and load it. 
Then he begins to crawl very slowly and 
cautiously, taking care not to scrape the 
heather, or knock the stones, and you do 
exactly the same till you join him behind 
a big boulder ; when he puts the rifle in 
your hand, saying in a whisper, — 

"Noo then, yell tak yon beast that's 
feeding to the west." 

And you look up excitedly, not knowing 
in the very least the whereabouts of the 
deer ; but while you are trying to make 

1 82 Ladies in the Field. 

out which is the "beast that is feeding to 
the west/' a greater beast that is feeding 
to the east, in the shape of a hind, has 
already made you out, and the whole herd 
of deer have galloped away without giv- 
ing you the chance of a shot. You turn and 
look blankly at Sandy, and Sandy looks dis- 
gustedly at you, and behind your back 
he exclaims, that you "jist mak' him 

Little of the science of deer-stalking can 
be learnt from following blindly behind a 
silent forester ; though no doubt a novice 
would get more deer and disturb less 


ground by putting himself entirely into 
the hands of a first-rate stalker than by 
attempting to go his own way, and acquir- 
ing experience at the expense of repeated 

The two great difficulties with which 
the amateur has to contend are, the wrong 
impression given by the appearance of 
ground when seen from a distance, and 
the imperfect knowledge of the direction 
from which the wind will blow when he 

Deer-Stalking and Deer- Driving. 1 83 

gets within reach of deer. The other diffi- 
culties, such as keeping out of sight of the 
deer he wishes to shoot, and avoiding other 
deer or sheep, can be overcome, with practice, 
by any intelligent person ; but to know 
the direction in which certain winds will 
blow in certain places, is a constant puzzle 
even to the oldest and most experienced 

If a valley lies east and west, and the 
wind blows east or west, you can generally 
count on being able to stalk wp-wind. But 
should the wind be north in a valley lying 
east and west, it will constantly blow 
south on the southern side of a northern 
mountain, or it might blow east or west. 
There is only one manner of ascertaining 
the direction of a light and doubtful breeze, 
and that is by continually plucking little 
bits of the fluff off your homespun coat, 
and allowing them to float about in the 


Deer are far more frightened at getting 
the wind of a human being than they 
are at seeing him ; consequently they will 

184 Ladies in the Field. 

gallop away faster, and run to a much 
greater distance after scenting a person 
than they will after seeing him. They are 
also far more frightened at sight of a man 
walking upright at a considerable distance, 
than at seeing one crouched up and immovable 
quite near them — though in the latter case he 
may be so close that his face, hands, and 
even the rifle are discernible. 

When a seal is doubtful about anything 
floating on the water, it will take a long 
circuit round, and keep out of shot until it 
has got to windward of the suspicious object. 
Once to windward all doubt is at an 
end, and, if the object should prove to be 
an enemy, the seal will immediately dis- 
appear under water. But, fortunately for 
sportsman, deer are not clever enough to 
adopt this plan, or we should find stalking 
even more difficult than it is now. For 
if deer catch sight of a suspicious-looking 
object, the hinds generally come a step or 
two nearer to it, instead of going round to 
get the wind, and when they have quite 
decided that it looks like something un- 

Dccr-Stalking and Deer- Driving. 185 

canny, they will go off with a bark, occa- 
sionally stopping to look back. In the 
meantime the stags will be preparing to 
rise, so you must be ready to seize your chance 
of a broadside shot — for a stag lying with 
face towards you, w T ill generally, on ris- 
ing, turn his body broadside before bolting 
away. Should the deer, however, get a 
puff of your wind, it is of no use to wait ; 
you must either take a snap-shot at their 
retreating heels, or refrain from firing at 
all, and trust to getting another stalk when 
they have settled down again later in the day. 
You can never, under any circumstances, 
take a liberty with the wind ; but, on wet 
and stormy days, it is extraordinary how you 
may crawl about in full view of deer with- 
out frightening them, so long as they do not 
happen to be looking at you while you are 
actually moving. To begin with, the wet 
deadens any sound you may make in crawl- 
ing ; ferns do not crackle, nor does the grass 
rustle, and, as there is no light and shade, 
objects are less distinctly seen. But a sky 
line must always be avoided when possible, 

1 86 Ladies in the Field. 

or, if not, it should be crossed with the utmost 
care by keeping flat and moving slowly ; as 
deer are quick to note any strange excrescence 
on the edge of a hill. 

There are only two really important things 
to avoid when out stalking. One is the 
unnecessary disturbance of deer by firing 
shots late at night, or by careless stalking — 
both of which will send them off the ground 
you are on, and over to that of your neigh- 
bour — and the other is shooting at deer when 
the chances are more in favour of wounding 
them than of killing them outright. 

Sport is sometimes cruel — though never so 
cruel as nature, as any observer can bear 
witness — but that is no reason why sportsmen 
should be careless about giving unnecessary 

There are so many different sorts of rifles 
turned out by the various gunmakers, that 
it would be difficult to say which kind is the 
best. I have not had a large experience, but, 
having tried a single-barrelled Henry — with 
which I regularly missed — a double-barrelled 
Lankaster, and a Purdey, besides the various 

Dccr-Stalking and Deer-Driving. 187 

kinds of small rifles made by Rigby, Adams, 
and Holland, I do not hesitate to say that 
the best shots I ever made were at running 
deer with an old-fashioned muzzle-loader, with 
solid conical bullets ! 

One of the great charms of deer-stalking, 
besides the delightful feeling of being out all 
day long in the fresh air surrounded by the 
most beautiful scenery, is, that there is so 
much variety in it, as no two stalks are ever 
in the least alike. One might go season 
after season over the same ground, but it 
would be impossible to shoot two deer under 
precisely similar conditions. 

A beginner can scarcely understand the 
fascination which deer-stalking exercises over 
a more practised sportsman. When a novice 
is taken out, the stalker is naturally anxious 
to give him every chance, and, at the same 
time, is not over-particular about the size of 
the deer — which may possibly be missed ; so 
he generally manages to bring him up to 
within easy distance of a single stag, standing 
broadside. The novice knows nothing of 
the intricacies of the stalk, or of the difficulties 

1 88 Ladies in the Field. 

which have been overcome. He has, per- 
haps, been taken up one deep burn, and 
brought down another on the same hillside, 
possibly without having had any climbing, 
crawling, or wading to do ; after which he is 
told to look between some tufts of heather 
over the edge of a bank, when he will see the 
stag feeding just below. He then raises up 
the loaded rifle, and, feeling rather as though 
he were going to shoot at a red cow, calmly 
takes a deliberate aim, with his elbows resting 
on the bank, and hits the beast right through 
the heart. The whole business has appeared 
so easy that he cannot understand the ex- 
citement of the stalker over it ; and he feels 
rather ashamed than otherwise of the fuss 
that is made about him on his return 
home. But, the next time he goes out, he 
may have to shoot immediately after a stiff 
climb uphill ; the deer is further off than he 
thinks, and is very much the same colour as 
the ground ; he is out of breath, and more 
careless about his aim, and the consequence 
is that he misses it clean, and fires the second 
barrel with no better result. After this, the 

Deer -Stalking and Deer- Driving. 189 

novice begins to see that it is not alto- 
gether so tame and easy a business as it 
appeared at first ; and, when next he gets 
a chance at a stag, his heart will commence 
to beat, he will feel nervous about his 
aim, his knees will tremble and his hand 
shake, and he will at last feel that there 
is some excitement about deer-stalking after 

Deer-driviug is by no means such good 
sport as deer - stalking. When deer are 
driven, if they go the way that is intended 
— which depends chiefly on the weather and 
not at all on the skill of the sportsmen — all 
that is necessary to obtain a large number 
of stags is to keep a cool head, and to take 
a steady aim. But these qualifications are 
usually just those which are conspicuous by 
their absence at the generality of deer drives ; 
consequently, the number of shots that are 
fired at deer — all within easy distance — in 
proportion to the number of deer slain or 
wounded, is quite remarkable. 

I have often wondered how soldiers behave 
on a fie]d of battle, where there is danger to 

190 Ladies in the Field. 

life and limb, added to the noise, smoke, 
bustle and excitement. Do they ever hit a 
man at all except by accident? And is it 
likely that the time, ammunition and money 
annually wasted on firing at a mark will 
teach men not to lose their heads on a 
field of battle, with the enemy advancing 
towards them, when they cannot even 
keep cool at a deer drive, where there is 
absolute silence and stillness, and the 
deer are often too frightened and bewil- 
dered to do more than stand still to be 
shot at ! 

It would be very interesting to keep a 
record of the number of drives which come 
off properly, compared with those which are 
failures ; and of the number of shots fired at 
each drive, in proportion to every deer killed. 
I also fancy it would improve the sport in a 
forest far more if a record were kept of all 
the misses which were made out stalking, 
than if a high average of weights were in- 
sisted on, as this can only be accomplished 
by sparing the old deer, which, being past 
their prime and deteriorating every season, 

Deer-Stalking and Deer-Driving. 1 9 1 

should certainly be killed at the expense of 
the average. 

Deer-driving, more than any other kind 
of sport, depends on weather. When out 
stalking one generally succeeds in getting 
more deer on a stormy than on a fine day, 
but with driving it is just the reverse. The 
day cannot be too fine, as the mist and 
rain, which so constantly accumulate about 
high mountains, are the chief reasons why 
drives are such frequent failures. 

The way a drive is arranged is as follows. 
Every available stalker, forester and gillie is 
sent out before daylight to make an immense 
circle round the corries and mountains from 
which the deer are to be driven. Unfor- 
tunately the mist usually comes low down in 
the night, and the men cannot possibly tell, 
when they make their early start, whether 
it will lift or not. 

Deer have certain passes which they use 
when going from one corrie to another, and, 
if they are disturbed, they make for one of 
these passes wp-wind. But when everything 
has been settled, the guns are placed in a 

192 Ladies in the Field. 

pass which is doivn wind to the deer, and 
out of sight of the corrie, into which they 
are being collected by the beaters. 

It is a very difficult matter to force deer 
to go down-wind, as it is against; all their 
instincts to do so, and, if they have had 
much experience, they will be perfectly 
aware that men with rifles are awaiting 
them on the ridge, and, instead of going 
forward over the pass, they will break back 
at the last minute and rush through the 
beaters — who can only pelt them with sticks 
and stones — rather than face the known 
danger of the o;uns in front of them. 

In a deer drive it is necessary for the 
day to be clear, in order that the beaters 
may see each other as well as the deer. It 
is equally important that the deer should 
see the beaters, as these latter are placed 
as stops to prevent them going to the 
passes up- wind where there are no guns. 
If the deer are quite determined not to go 
down-wind over a pass, nothing that the 
beaters can do to force them will make any 
difference, and the drive is consequently 

Deer-Stalking and Deer-Driving. 19 


spoilt. If the wind changes, or does not 
blow fair, the guns know at once that their 
chance of sport is over, for deer would 
rather face an army which they can see, than 
a puff of wind from an unknown foe. 

Shooting at driven deer is much less 
fatiguing than stalking. The drive is fixed 
to come off at a certain hour, and the 
sportsmen ride ponies or w T alk to their posts, 
each carrying his own rifles — as the foresters 
are all employed in heating. The ponies 
are then left in charge of some boys, and 
each man is allotted a post in which he can 
make himself comfortable, put on his cloak 
and eat his lunch ; pipes also are not for- 
bidden for a while. But, after a bit, he 
must, on no account, move or leave his place, 
even if there is snow on the ground and he 
is perished with cold, for it is very possible 
that a few deer, not belonging to the drive, 
might be feeding just below the ridge of the 
hill, and, seeing other deer disturbed and 
coming towards them, they would probably 
feed quietly over the pass close to all the 
guns. If they were to see anyone move, 


194 Ladies in the Field. 

they would at once bolt back whence they 
came, and every deer in sight would know 
that they were fleeing from danger, and 
would refuse to come up the pass. But if 
they were allowed to move quietly on till 
all the guns were passed, they would soon 
disappear, and their fresh tracks would be of 
use in keeping the deer which followed from 
being suspicious of any lurking danger. 

The first deer to appear over a pass are 
usually a hind and calf; and hearts begin to 
beat furiously as, after many hours of wait- 
ing, they walk slowly past the line of guns, 
pricking their long ears forward and staring 
right and left suspiciously. Suddenly the 
hind gives a start — she has come across a 
footprint ; she sniffs at it, quickens her pace, 
and trots aw r ay with her little calf beside her. 
All at once she gets a puff of the wind and 
away she goes — bark, bark, bark — but as 
there are no other deer in sight she can do 
no harm. Then some more hinds come on, 
followed by a few small staggies, and the 
excitement among the guns becomes intense 
as they know now that the drive has begun. 

Deer-Stalking and Deer -Driving. 1 95 

As the first deer get the wind and begin to 
gallop, a grand Eoyal appears. He passes 
most of the rifles scathless — for there is no 
greater crime than to fire at one of the first 
few deer and so turn all the others back — 
but the last gun, seeing; that there are now 
plenty of good stags over the brae, lets fly at 
him and may bowl him over (this is purely 
imaginary, for my experience is that he does 
not bowl him over), then crack, crack, go the 
other rifles as barrel after barrel is fired — two 
or three rifles to each man, and two barrels to 
each rifle — and the fat and heavy deer come 
panting by, bewildered by the incessant 
firing and the whizz of the bullets about 
their ears, driven forward by the shouts of 
the beaters behind, who are pressing them on 
to their death, and terrified when some mag- 
nificent beast makes a plunge forward on re- 
ceiving its death-wound, and tears up the soft 
ground with its hoofs as it rolls over and 
over, its thick horns crashing against the 
rocks. Then the last and heaviest of the 
deer come rushing down the pass followed 
by the beaters, capless and perspiring. The 

196 Ladies in the Field. 

ground is strewn with dead and dying, the 
sportsmen leave their posts and each claims 
his deer (many more claims being made for 
the large than for the small ones) ; the dogs 
are let loose after the wounded, and thus the 
most successful drive of the season comes to 
an end. 

The ponies which have conveyed the sports- 
men up the mountain now come in useful to 
carry home the dead beasts ; and, in the 
evening, after dinner, the ladies, in their 
dainty dresses and flashing diamonds, come 
out across the yard to inspect the trophies of 
the chase which are laid out on the ground 
in front of the larder ; while the weird and 
fantastic scene is lighted up by blazing 
torches held aloft by kilted Highlanders. 

Diane Chasseeesse. 



By Lady Boynton. 

11 The reason firm, the temperate will, 
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill." 

" A mingled yarn — good and ill together." 

A few years ago a " shooting-lady " was al- 
most as much a vara avis as the Great Auk ; 
if here and there one member of the sex, more 
venturesome than her fellows, were bold 
enough to take to the gun in preference to 
the knitting needle, she was looked upon 
as most eccentric and fast, and underwent 
much adverse criticism. Now, however, nous 
avons change tout cela. Ladies who shoot, 
and who shoot well, too, are springing 
up on all sides, and the clamour raised 
by their appearance is gradually subsiding. 
There are still dissentient voices here and 
there, it is true, voices which proclaim aloud 

that women have no place in the covert 


200 Ladies in the Field. 

and among the turnips, and that the cruelty 
of the sport should be an insuperable objec- 
tion to their joiniug in it. A discussion of 
all these pros and cons is, however, outside 
the scope of these notes, we have simply to 
deal with facts as they stand, and, undoubt- 
edly, the "shooting-lady' is now as much 
an established fact as is her sister the 
" hunting-woman." 

That a woman who is fond of sport need 
lose nothing in grace, charm, or refinement, 
we have ample evidence to show. She does 
not necessarily become masculine either in 
manner or conversation ; but she should, 
nevertheless, endeavour to master the rudi- 
ments of whatever sport she engages in ; 
and it is with the hope of assisting some 
of my fellow - sportswomen to accomplish 
this, that I here record some of my experi- 
ences, not omitting my mistakes, and adding 
a few hints to beginners; though I regret 
that I have no moving accidents by flood 
or field, nor " hairbreadth 'scapes " to recount ! 

There is certainly a pleasant amount of 
excitement about shooting — not perhaps 

Shooting. 20 1 

equal to that afforded by " forty minutes with- 
out a check," but quite enough to make 
one willing to brave the elements, even on 
a raw November morning, and to stand with 
one's finders aching with cold behind a fence 
waiting for the advent of that little brown 
bird who will flash past you like a meteor — 
alas ! too frequently only to leave a feather 
or two floating behind him, and then to 
continue his course rejoicing ! 

I well remember the first running; rabbit I 
ever killed. I was armed with an old- 
fashioned muzzle loader — we were walking 
round the hedgerows in some pastures. 
The rabbit was sitting in a tussock 
about thirty yards from the fence. I 
cautiously advanced in such a manner as 
to get a crossing shot. The rabbit was put 
up, and I, taking a very deliberate aim, 
had the intense satisfaction of seeing him 
double up just as he reached the fence ! 
What a moment! No 'Royal' killed at 140 
yards could have afforded more delight than 
did that wretched little bunny. 

Of course, previously to this, I had fired 

202 Ladies in the Field. 

at a mark and at sitting objects, in order to 
get into the way of handling the gun, aim- 
ing and so forth. 

It is of the first and greatest importance 
on beginning to shoot to learn to be care- 
ful, and the golden rule is, always to 
handle a gun as though it were loaded 
and cocked ; the habit once acquired, it is 
just as easy to carry a gun safely as not. 

Coolness and confidence are equally neces- 
sary — but practice alone will bring these. 
A beginner is apt to be flurried when the 
game gets up ; she sees nothing else, thinks 
of nothing else but killing it, and takes 
no account of the beaters, guns, or dogs 
surrounding her. She points the gun at 
the bird or beast, and perchance (horrid 
thought !) follows it all round the compass 
with her finger on the trigger ! Wherefore 
it is better she should not take the field 
with other guns (unless she wishes to make 
enemies of her best friends), until she has 
full command over the gun and can put 
it up easily and quickly. If the game gets 
up too near, she must wait till it has 

Shooting. 203 

reached the proper distance, then raise the 
£im to her shoulder and fire at once. 
This is the only way to become a quick 
and steady shot. 

Apropos of following ; once when grouse- 
driving I was placed in a butt between two 
other guns, both of them strangers to me. 
They looked very much askance at me, and 
I fancy one of them thanked his stars he'd 
insured his life the w^eek before ! The 
one in the left-hand butt at once moved 
both his " guards" on to the side of the butt 
next me. Soon three birds, the forerunners 
of the army to follow, came over between 
my right-hand neighbour and me, two of 
them making straight for his butt. To 
my surprise he did not fire. The third 
bird I hit with my first barrel, and seeing 
as it passed me that it had a leg down, I 
turned round and killed it going away from 
me with the left barrel. After the drive 
was over I asked him why he hadn't shot. 
"To tell you the truth," he said, "I was 
watching you. I was a little anxious to 
see if you would follow that bird, but after 

204 Ladies in the Field. 

that, I saw you were all right!' My left- 
hand warrior confessed, later on, that he 
had been peppered by the gun on the other 
side of him ! Whereat I chuckled ! 

As to the gun used, everybody must 
please themselves. I shoot with a 20 -bore, 
the left barrel slightly choked, weight 5 lbs., 
and loaded with 2J drachms black powder, 
f oz. No. 6 shot. For covert shooting, 
E. C. or Schulze is better, it is quicker up 
to the game and almost smokeless. 

A 16-bore makes killing easier, but the 
extra weight, at the end of a long day, 
counterbalances this advantage. I shot with 
a 28-bore belonging to a friend one day 
last winter, and was perfectly astonished 
at the way and the distance it killed, but 
you have to be very dead on to make 
good practice with so small a bore. A gun 
to fit you should come up to the shoulder 
quite easily, and, without any adjusting 
you must bring the sight straight on to the 
object. If you see all down the barrel, the 
stock is too straight, if, on the contrary, you 
see nothing but the breech, it is too much 

Shooting. 205 


bent and you will shoot under everything. 
But I would advise the beginner to go to 
the " Worth " of London gunmakers (Mr 
Purdey), put herself in his hands, and, 
like the sartorial genius of Paris, he will turn 
her out fitted to perfection. An indiarubber 
heel-plate is sometimes a wise precaution, 
to avoid a bruised shoulder and arm, which 
if you happen to be going to a ball, does not 
perhaps add to your beauty ! 

The left hand should be held well forward. 
This gives much more power over the gun, 
it also looks much better. With regard to 
the position of the feet, it is well to recollect 
that elegance is compatible with ease ! 

It is a matter of some difficulty, at first, to 
judge distance correctly. The novice gener- 
ally begins by blowing her game to bits, to 
make sure of killing it, I suppose, though in 
reality this makes it far harder. The other 
extreme, firing very long shots, is equally re- 
prehensible, as nine times out of ten the game 
goes away w T ounded, even when occasionally it 
is dropped by a fluke. Any distance between 
twenty and forty yards is legitimate, though the 

206 Ladies in the Field. 

latter is rather far for a hare going away from 

Never hand the gun cocked to an attendant, 
and always unload when getting over a fence, 
and on putting the gun down for luncheon. 

Now for a few words on aiming ; but I must 
here protest that this does not profess to be a 
shooting " Bradshaw," but merely, as it were, 
an A B C guide ! 

For a beginner, no doubt the easiest way, 
in the case of any ordinary crossing shot, is to 
put up the gun on the object, then fling it- 
forward as far in front as is thought fit, and 
fire, but, after a time, I think this kind of 
double action will no longer be found neces- 
sary. The gun will be put up at once in front 
of the game, the eye taking in by instinct and 
practice the line of the object, and experience 
telling how far in front of the game to hold 
the gun. This is certainly true with regard 
to ground game. Quite high-class aiming is 
to put the gun up a little before the head of 
the object, and swing the gun forward with 
the bird, pulling the trigger tvithout stopping 
the gun. This is beyond doubt the best and 

Shooting. 207 

most correct method, but not easy to ac- 

I take it for granted that you shoot with 
both eyes open. 

It is impossible to lay down a rule how far 
in front to hold the gun for a crossing shot. 
It depends upon the pace the bird is going, 
and its distance from you, but, roughly speak- 
ing, for an ordinary shot at twenty-five yards, 
the object's own length in front may be 
enough (but I write this with some diffidence). 
For a driven bird or high pheasant, my 
experience is, you can't get too far ahead ! 
For a rabbit or hare going away from you 
aim at the back of its head ; coming towards 
you, at its chest. 

One of the greatest charms of shooting 
is its " infinite variety." Let us take for ex- 
ample, to begin with, a day's covert shooting. 

The waggonette with its pair of matched 
bays (of course w T e have the best of every- 
thing — on paper) stands at the door. You 
pack yourselves in, with a goodly amount 
of rugs and furs, and away you go, ten 
miles an hour, through the park. There has 

2b8 Ladies in the Field. 

been a sharp frost, the cobwebs are all 
glistening in the sun, and the road rings 
under the horses' feet in a manner ominous 
to the lover of the chase proper, but music 
in the ears of the shooting-man. The leaves 
are mostly off the trees, but here and there 
some few remaining ones shiver gently to 
the ground ; the bracken is brown and 
withered, and rustles crisply as the deer 
brush through it, startled at the sight of 
the carriage. The wind is keen and biting, 
but you turn up your fur collar and defy 
" rude Boreas." 

Arrived at the starting point you take, 
on your way to the first cover, two or three 
rough grasses. The rabbits having been 
previously ferreted and otherwise harried, 
have forsaken their strongholds, and have, 
so to speak, gone under canvas — they are 
dotted about all over the fields in seats. 
(It is astonishing how easy it is, until the 
eye becomes practised, to miss seeing a 
rabbit in a seat.) You form a line, a beater 
or two between each gun across the pasture. 
Before you have gone ten yards, a rabbit 

Shooting, 209 

jumps up from underneath a beater's foot, 
and makes tracks for the nearest hedgerow 
or plantation, only, however, to fall a victim 
to the right-hand gun. The report alarms 
another, who, without delay, seeks to follow 
in the steps of his predecessor, but a charge 
of No. 5 interferes with his scheme, and he 
also succumbs to fate. 

Soon the fun becomes "fast and furious," 
four or five rabbits are on foot together, 
necessitating cjuick loading and steady shoot- 
ing. Here one breaks back through the 
line, and comes past you full tilt. You take 
a rapid look round to see that no unlucky 
beater lurks in the rear picking up the 
wounded — bang — ah ! you didn't allow for 
the oblique line of bunny's course, and were 
half a foot behind him. The second barrel, 
however, stretches him a corpse on the field 
of battle. 

At the end of the pasture runs a narrow 
strip of plantation. Here the shooting is 
more difficult. The brambles are very thick ; 
you have to take snap-shots as the rabbits 
bounce from one thicket to another. You 

2io Ladies in the Field. 

must fire where you think he'll be (not where 
he is), but even this manoeuvre is not always 
successful, as that old man who has been 
acting as stop at the end of the strip will 
tell you. " Nobbut eleven ! " says he, " there's 
bin fortty shots fired ! Ah coonted 'em !" Con- 
science-striken, you look at one another, and 
positively tremble before the scorn depicted 
in that old man's eye. 

Then comes a small outlying covert. Two 
guns placed back to back command the end — 
the rest go w 7 ith tbe beaters. A wood-pigeon 
is the first to make a move, which it does 
with a tremendous bustle and fuss ; it affords 
a pretty shot, coming straight overhead, and 
falls with a " plop ' behind you. Next to 
take alarm is an old hare. She scampers 
through the brushwood, staring behind her, 
and makes for her usual exit — a hole in the 
hedge, little knowing, poor thing, that she is 
galloping straight into the jaws of death, for 
your neighbour's unerring weapon promptly 
does its duty. 

Then, maybe there arises a wild shout, a 
discordant " Tally-ho ! " followed by sundry 

Shooting. 2 1 1 

yells of all shades, and a banging great fox 
breaks away across the stubble, disappearing in 
the fence only to emerge again in the pasture. 
I think a fox one of the most beautifully- 
proportioned animals there is. He is built 
on such racing lines ! with those long gallop- 
ing quarters, that deep chest, and muscular 
neck. Look at him as he steals away over 
the grass without an effort ; he doesn't appear 
to be going any pace at all, and yet in a 
moment he is out of sight ! No hurry, my 
friend ! You may take it easy to-day, but 
in a very short time you'll dance to another 
and a quicker tune played by Yl\ couple of 
the " best hounds in England ! " 

Meanwhile, four rabbits have taken advan- 
tage of your soliloquy to make good their 
escape. You fire a snap-shot at one as he 
bobs into the fence. "Mark over," and a 
pheasant whirrs over the top of the wood. 
You hastily cram a cartridge into your gun, 
raise it and pull, only to find that you've 
forgotten to cock the right barrel ; you change 
on to the left trigger, but this has put you 
"of}','' the pheasant goes scathless, and is 

1 1 2 Ladies in the Field. 

handsomely knocked down by your com- 
panion-in-arms. Perhaps this is an argument 
in favour of a hammerless gun ! 

On reaching the big covert the aspect of 
things is changed. The guns are placed at 
intervals down the rides, and the beaters go 
to the far end to bring it up towards you. It 
is always well to let the guns on either side 
of you, know your whereabouts, both for your 
own sake and theirs. Only let us hope you 
won't meet with the treatment that a friend 
of ours received. He was placed next to a 
very deaf old gentleman. Aw r are that he 
could not make him hear by calling, or (which 
is much preferable) by whistling, he took out 
his handkerchief and waved it to attract his 
attention. The old gentleman caught sight of 
it, put up his gun and took a steady and 
deliberate aim at it ! You can easily imagine 
how our friend ducked and bobbed, and threw 
himself prone on the grass round the corner ! 

After a pause a distant shot is heard, then 
another, and soon you hear the tap tap of 
the beaters, and " Kabbit up," " Mark over," 
" Hare to the right," may be continually 

Shooting. 2 1 3 

heard, unless, as in some places, silence is 
enjoined on the beaters. "Mark cock ,: is, 
however, everywhere an exception to this 
rule, and at the magic words, every gun is 
on the alert ! I never understand why a wood- 
cock should be productive of such wild ex- 
citement and reckless shooting as it generally 
is ! The bird flits through the trees a little 
above the height of a man's head, looking as 
easy to kill as an owl, but it is a gay deceiver, 
for barrel after barrel may discharge its deadly 
contents at it, and still that brown bird flits 
on as before, turning up and down as it goes. 
Of course (on paper) you are the one to kill it, 
when you are loaded w 7 ith congratulations — 
their very weight testifying how unexpected 
was the feat. Rather a doubtful compliment ! 
Half the wood being shot, the guns move 
round to the outside. What has hitherto 
been done, has been chiefly a means to an 
end. The pheasants have been driven with 
the object of getting them into this par- 
ticular corner. Possibly the wood stands 
on the slope of a hill ; this gives the best 
shooting, as the birds fly over the valley 

214 Ladies in the Field. 

affording high and difficult shots, especially 
if coming down-wind. I think there is no- 
thing prettier than to see real high birds 
well killed. They fall like stones, with 
heads doubled up — not waving down, wings 
and legs out-stretched like the arms of a 
semaphore ! 

" Thick and fast they come at last, 
And more, arid more, and more." 

But do not let this tempt you into firing 
too quick. Pick your bird and kill it, though 
I grant you this is not an easy thing to do. 
Many men seem quite to lose their head at a hot 
corner. They fire almost at random, though, 
in the case of a few birds coming, they will 
scarcely miss a shot. 

By this time it is growing dusk. The 
December afternoon is closing in. There is a 
mist rising from the river, the air feels damp 
and chill, and your thoughts turn to a bright 
fire, a tea-gown, and those delicious two hours 
before dinner. 

To my mind, grouse-shooting is the cream 
of sport. To begin with, Scotland itself has a 

Shooting. 2 1 


charm which no other country possesses. 
Then it is such nice clean walking! How- 
ever much you may curtail your skirt, mud 
will stick to it, but on the heather there is 
nothing to handicap you — you are almost on 
a level with MAN ! 

From the moment vou leave the lodge on a 
shooting morning, your pleasure begins. The 
dogs and keepers have preceded you. A 
couple of gillies are waiting with, the ponies. 
You mount, and wend your way over the hill 
road, ruminating as you go, on the possible 
bag, and taking in, almost unconsciously, the 
bewitching feast that nature with such a 
bountiful hand has spread before you. 

On either side a wide expanse of moorland, 
one mass of bloom, broken here and there by a 
burnt patch or some grey lichen-covered 
boulders. The ground gently slopes on the 
right towards a few scrubby alders or birches, 
with one or two rowan trees, the fringe of 
green bracken denoting; the little burn 
which to-day trickles placidly along, but in a 
spate becomes a ronring torrent of brown 
water and white foam. Beyond is a wide 

216 Ladies in the Field. 

stretch of purple heather, then a strip of 
yellow and crimson bents, dotted with the 
white cotton-flower. The broken, undulating 
ground, with its little knolls and hollows, tells 
of nice covert for the grouse when the mid-clay 
sun is high, and the birds are. as an old 
keeper used to say, "lying deid in the 

Further away rise the hills in their stately 
grandeur, green, and olive, and grey, and 
purple ; how the light changes on them ! One 
behind the other they lie in massive splendour, 
and, more distant still, the faint blue outline 
of some giant overtops the rest, with here and 
there a rugged peak standing out against the 
sky. And, pervading all, that wonderful, ex- 
hilarating, intoxicating air ! 

Bounding a bend in the road, you come 
across three or four hill-sheep, standing in the 
shade of the overhanging bank. Startled, 
they lift their heads and gaze at you, then 
rush away, bounding over the stones and 
heather with an agility very unlike the 
" woolly waddle " of our fat Leicesters. 

Anon, in the distance, you see Donald and 

S hooting. 2 1 7 

the clogs on the look-out for yon, the clogs 
clustered round the keeper, a most pictur- 
esque group. 

AY hen you reach them and dismount, a 
brace of setters are uncoupled and boisterously 
tear around, till peremptorily called to order. 
You take your guns, etc., the dogs are told to 
" hold up," and the sport begins. 

In a few moments " Rake ' pulls up short, 
and stands like a rock ; " Ruby ' backs him. 
You advance slowly, always, when possible, at 
the side of the clog standing, and pause for 
your companion to come up. Rake moves 
forward, a step at a time, his lip twitching 
and his eyes eager with excitement ; another 
second and the birds get up. Seven of them. 
(Here let me give the beginner a hint. Take 
the birds nearest you and furthest from your 
companion, never shoot across him, don't 
change your bird, and don't fire too soon.) 
You re-load and walk up to where they 
rose, there will probably be a bird left. Up 
he gets, right under your feet. You let him 
go a proper distance, then neatly drop him in 
the heather. 

2i8 Ladies in the Field. 

This kind of thing is repeated again and 
again, varied by an odd " bluehare," or a twist- 
ing snipe. The dogs quarter their ground 
beautifully, it is a pleasure to see them work, 
for grouse are plentiful, the shooting good, 
and they are encouraged to do their best. 
Perhaps there may be a bit of swamp sur- 
rounded by rushes in which an occasional 
duck is to be found. The dogs are taken 
up, and the guns creep cautiously forward, 
taking care to keep out of sight till within 
shot. You then show yourselves simul- 
taneously on the right and left, wdien the 
birds will generally spring. Kemember to 
aim above a duck — because it is always 

Later on in the season grouse get wilder, 
and the shooting consequently more amus- 
ing. The old cocks grow very wary, but 
sometimes, coming round the brow of a hill, 
you light suddenly on a grand old fellow, 
who, with a " Bak-a-bak-bak," rises right 
up into the air, turns, and goes off down- 
wind forty miles an hour. Catch him under 
the wing just on the turn — a lovely shot. 

Shooting. 2 1 9 

If you miss him he won't give you another 
chance that clay ! 

By way of variety you are sometimes 
bidden to assist at a neighbouring " drive ' 
for black game and roe. On one occasion 
we were asked to join a party for this pur- 
pose. We set off with an army of guns 
and beaters, some of the former decidedly 
inexperienced ones. It is, of course, essential 
in roe-driving, that you should, when in posi- 
tion, keep absolutely still. It was known that 
two bucks with exceptionally fine heads 
frequented the wood, and our host was anx- 
ious to secure them. My husband was 
placed in a very likely place, and there, in 
spite of midges and flies galore, he possessed 
his soul in patience. Suddenly he thought 
he heard a footstep ; the sound was repeated, 
and, cautiously moving to discover what it 
might portend, he saw the gun stationed 
next him calmly patrolling up and down, 
flicking away the midges with his white 
handkerchief! My husband didn't get that 

After luncheon, our party was reinforced by 

220 Ladies in the Field. 

the butler and the French cook. Both arrived 
with guns, which they carried "at the trail/ 
at full cock 'over the roughest ground. The 
chef was a long, lean, lank, cadaverous man 
looking as if he wanted one of his own 
skewers run down him. He was dressed in 
shiny black clothes and wore enormous 
slippers. Comfortable enough, no doubt, on 
the trottoir of his " beloved Paris," but 
scarcely suitable for the hill ! So he seemed 
to find, for he shortly retired, when we felt 
considerably happier. Another time, the 
best wood, the bonne bouche, was carefully 
beaten through while we were discussing a 
recherche champagne luncheon. Just as we 
finished, the shouts, cries, and discordant 
noises which denote the approach of beaters, 
were heard, and shortly after, one of the 
keepers came up and informed us that the 
whole wood had been gone through and that 
seven roe, to say nothing of a red deer had 
been seen! Evidently "someone had blun- 
dered." I do not myself think there is much 
sport in roe-driving. To begin with they are 
such pretty graceful animals, one cannot kill 

Shooting. 2 2 1 


them without remorse. Also it requires very 
little skill to put a charge of shot into them 
even at a gallop. 

Nor is a grey-hen a difficult bird to kill. 
Heavy and slow — what Mr Jorrocks calls " a 
henterpriseless brute" — it Hops along through 
the birch trees (though, when driven, and 
coming from some distance it acquires much 
greater speed), looking more like a barn-door 
fowl than a game bird ; but the Sultan of the 
tribe is quite a different thing. Wild, wary 
and watchful, he is ever on the qui vive. 
When you do get a shot at him he is travel- 
ling by express, and having, most probably, 
been put up some distance off, he has con- 
siderable " way " on. You see his white feathers 
gleam in the sun, and the curl of his tail 
against the sky. Shoot well ahead of him. 
Ah ! great is the satisfaction of hearing the 
dull thud as he falls, and of seeing him 
bounce up with the force of the contact with 
mother-earth. Truly, an old black-cock is a 
grand bird ! His glossy blue-black plumage, 
white under- wings and tail, and red eye make 
such a pleasing contrast. 

222 Ladies in the Field. 

I remember once, when grouse-driving 
towards the eud of the day, the beaters 
brought up a small birch wood which stood 
near the last row of butts. There were two 
or three ladies with us. One of them, a most 
bewitching and lovely young woman, accom- 
panied a gallant soldier into his butt, to mark 
his prowess. As luck would have it, nine old 
black-cock flew over that brave colonel's butt, 
bub, strange to say, four went away without a 
shot, and not one of the nine remained as 
witnesses of his skill ! Now, let me point out, 
had that said charming girl been shooting, 
she would have been stationed in a butt by 
herself, and, judging by that soldier's usual 
performance, at least five of those old black- 
cock would have bitten the dust that day ! 
And " the moral of that is " — give a graceful 
8[irl a £un ! 

The hill ponies are wonderfully sagacious 
animals. When they have been once or twice 
over a road, they will never mistake their 
way. Once, when staying in Sutherlandshire, 
two of us started at 10*15 a.m. We rode 
about four miles, before beginning to shoot, 

Shooting. 223 

over a very bad bit of country. There were two 
burns to ford, some curious kind of grips to 
jump, and several boggy places to circum- 

We shot away from home till about 6 '30, 
then met the ponies and started on our ride 
home — about nine miles. We neither of us 
knew the way, beyond having a vague idea as 
to the direction in which the lodge lay. The 
first part was easy enough, a narrow sheep- 
walk guided us, but at length that failed, and 
there was nothing for it but to trust to the 
ponies. We could only go at a foot's-pace. 
The September evening fast closed in, and it 
came on to drizzle, until, for the last two 
miles, we could scarcely see two yards before 
us, and yet those ponies brought us home — 
over the two fords, avoided the treacherous 
grips and the boggy places, never putting a 
foot wrong the whole way ! It was long- 
past nine when the lights of the lodge hove 
in sight. Truly that night's dinner was a 
" thing of beauty" and bed seemed a "joy 
for ever ! ' 

Two davs later found me keen as mustard 

224 Ladies in the Field. 

to scale the heights of Ben Hope for ptar- 
migan. It was almost the only game bird, 
except capercailzie, I had never shot, and I 
was extremely anxious to seize an oppor- 
tunity of doing so. Five guns set out. 
We rode a considerable distance, until the 
ground became too soft for ponies to travel. 
Arrived at the foot of the hill I gazed in 
dismay at its steep, stony height, and felt 
like the child in the allegory who turns 
back at its first difficulty ! But pluck and 
ambition prevailed, and I struggled gamely 
up, though, hot and breathless, I was forced 
to pause more than once ere we got even 
half way. We had agreed that, on no account, 
were we to fire at anything but ptarmigan. 
When we had ascended about 1300 feet a 
covey of grouse got up. One of the sports- 
men, nay, the very one who had been fore- 
most in suggesting that ptarmigan only 
should be our prey, turned round, and feebly 
let fly both barrels, wounding one wretched 
bird which disappeared into the depths below, 
never to be seen again ! As the report 
reverberated through the hill, the whole 

Shooting. 225 

place above us seemed to be alive with the 
cackling of ptarmigan, and, in a moment, 
without any exaggeration at least twenty 
brace were on the wing at once, making 
their way round the shoulder, over the Green 
Corrie to the highest part of Ben Hope. 
I think the spectre of that grouse must 
haunt that sportsman yet ! 

Of course there were a few odd birds 
left, and, before we gained the top, we had 
each picked up one or two, though, through 
another contretemps, I missed my best chance. 
I had unwillingly, over a very steep and 
rocky bit of ground, given up my gun to 
the keeper. The moment after I had done 
so, two ptarmigan got up to my left, offer- 
ing a lovely cross shot, and, before I could 
seize the gun, they fell, a very pretty 
double shot, to our host on my right. When 
we reached the summit, we found ourselves 
enveloped in a thick fog, although down below 
it was a brilliant hot day ; so dense was 
it, that, notwithstanding we were walking 
in line, some of us got separated, and it 
must have been almost an hour before we 


226 Ladies in the Field. 

joined forces again. Altogether it was a 
hard day's work, but, having attained my 
object, I was sublimely indifferent to every- 
thing else. 

Driving is certainly the form of shooting 
that requires the most skill, whether it be 
grouse or partridge, and is most fascinating 
when you can hit your birds ! Grouse- 
driving appears to me the easier of the two ; 
partly because they come straight, and partly 
because you can see them much further 
off, also they are rather bigger, though 
they may, perhaps, come the quicker of the 
two. Nothing but experience will show 
you how soon you can fire at a driven 
grouse coming towards you. Some people 
get on to their birds much quicker than 
others. I have heard it said that as 
soon as you can distinguish the plumage 
of the bird, he is within shot. Aim a little 
above him if he is coming towards you — 
a long way ahead if he is crossing. 

If you shoot with two guns, I assume 
that you have practised "giving and tak- 
ing" with a loader. Otherwise there will 

Shooting. 227 

be a fine clashing of barrels and possibly 
an unintentional explosion. The cap and 
jacket for driving must be of some neutral 
tint, any white showing is liable to turn 
the birds. Of course you must be most 
careful never to fire a side shot within 
range of the next butt. A beginner is more 
apt to do this, from being naturally a slow 
shot at first. 

The same rules hold good for partridge-driv- 
ing, only there you usually stand behind 
a high hedge, consequently you cannot see 
the birds approaching. You hear "Ma-a-rk' 
in the distance, and the next moment — 
whish ! They are over, scattering at the 
sight of you to right or left ; take one as 
he comes over you, and you may get 
another going away from you — or a side 
shot — provided there is no gun lower down 
whom you run the risk of peppering. 

Walking up partridges in turnips affords 
the same kind of shooting as grouse over 
dogs ; not bad fun when they are plenti- 
ful, but hardish work for petticoats ! If a 
hare gets up and bounds away, the movino- 

228 Ladies in the Field. 

turnip-tops will be your only guide to her 
whereabouts, aim rather low, or the chances 
are you fire over her back. A curious in- 
cident once happened when we were part- 
ridge shooting. Two hares were put up, 
and running from opposite directions up the 
same row they " collided," and with such 
violence that one broke its neck and the 
other was so stunned that it w T as picked 
up by a beater ! The Irishman might w T ith 
truth have said — "Man, they jostle one 
anoither." And this in spite of the Ground 
Game Act ! 

You will occasionally come across snipe 
in turnips. They are horrid little zig- 
zagging wretches ! If you wait till their 
first gyrations are over, they do, for a 
second, fly straight (for them), and even a 
20-bore can sometimes lay them low. 

I once shot a quail. I mistook it for a 
" cheeper' minus a tail, and gazed placidly 
at its retreating form, murmuring to myself, 
"too small," when I was electrified by 
a yell — " Shoot, shoot ! ' Being trained to 
habits of obedience, I promptly did as I 

Shooting. 229 


was told, and brought the "little nutterer" 
down. A quail in a turnip field ! I should 
as soon have expected to meet one of the 
children of Israel. 

On a winter afternoon, faute-de-mieux, 
shooting wood-pigeons coming in to roost, 
is a pastime not to be despised, but it is 
very cold work. A windy evening is the best ; 
luckily pigeons always fly in against the wind, 
so you can get on the leeside of the planta- 
tion and shoot them coming in, or you 
can ensconce yourself under the shelter of 
some fir-boug;hs near the trees in which 
they are accustomed to roost. A pigeon 
takes a lot of killing, he possesses so many 
feathers ; then he has an eye like a hawk, 
and can turn with incredible speed. If 
there are several guns in different woods 
you may easily get 100 in an hour or two, 
and often many more. 

Of the grandest sport of all I grieve to 
say I can write nothing. I have never 
had the chance of a shot at a stag. It is 
not possible to describe a stalk by hearsay 
only ; besides, in my remarks hitherto, I 

230 Ladies in the Field. 

have recorded nothing which has not come 
within my own actual experience. 

I can, however, easily imagine the in- 
tense pleasure of being well brought up to 
within, perhaps, 100 yards of a good stag, 
the excitement of having the rifle thrust 
into your hands with a whispered " Tak' 
time," the cautious raising of the weapon 
to a rest, the anxious moment as you take 
your sight and gently press the trigger, 
and the supreme delight of hearing the 
"thud 5 of the bullet as it strikes, and as 
the smoke clears off, of seeing him stagger 
a few paces and fall " never to rise again." 
I forbear to draw the reverse side of the 

Of course, in many forests, stalking is quite 
feasible for ladies, though not within reach of 
all. I confess I envy those fortunate indi- 
viduals who have, more than once, compelled 
some " an tiered monarch of the glen ' to bow 
his lofty head and lower his colours at their 
bidding ! 

With regard to dress — I believe, for those 
who can endure the feel, wearing all wool is 

Shooting. 2 3 1 

a great safeguard against rheumatism, chills, 
and all evils of that ilk. But, on this subject, 
every woman will of course please herself. I 
will therefore merely give an outline of my 
own get-up. A short plain skirt of Harris 
tweed, with just enough width to allow of 
striding or jumping, a half tight-fitting jacket 
to match, with turn-up collar and strap like a 
cover-coat, pockets big enough to get the 
hands in and out easily, a flannel shirt and 
leather belt, or, for smarter occasions, a stiff 
shirt and waistcoat. Knickerbockers of thin 
dark tweed, high laced boots with nails, or 
brown leather gaiters and shoes. If a petti- 
coat is worn, silk is the best material for walk- 
ins in. I have neither mackintosh nor leather 
on my dress, I dislike the feel of both. For wet 
weather, a waterproof cape, with straps over the 
shoulders so that it can be thrown back, if re- 
quired, in the act of shooting, is very convenient. 
But there is really only one essential in a 
shooting costume. It must be loose enough 
to give the arms perfect freedom in every 
direction — without this, it is impossible to 
shoot well or quickly. 

232 Ladies in the Field. 

One last hint. Never go on shooting when 
you are tired. It will only cause you dis- 
appointment, and others vexation of spirit, 
for you will assuredly shoot under everything. 
Bird after bird will go away wounded, time 
after time your mentor (or tormentor) wall 
cry "low and behind, low and behind," 
until, in angry despair, you long to fling the 
empty cartridge at his head. Take my advice 
" give it up, and go home ! ' 

That the above notes may not be free from 
numerous sins of omission and commission, I 
am well aw r are. It would be great presump- 
tion on my part to suppose that my feeble 
pen could do what many men have failed to 
accomplish. But if any hints I have given 
prove of service to beginners and encourage 
them to persevere (even though at present, like 
the old woman's false teeth "they misses as 
often as they hits"), my pleasant task will 
not have been in vain. 

Mildred Boynton. 



By Mrs Jenkins. 

It has been said "An Englishman is never 
happy unless he is killing something," and 
nowadays, at any rate, his happiness seems 
increased if members of the weaker sex share 
this propensity with him ; and so a short 
account of a kangaroo hunt may not be 
inappropriate in a book about women's 

This is an exclusively Australian pastime, 
and has peculiar incidents of its own from the 
start to the finish. We do not see pink coats 
and heavy hunters, the bay of the hounds does 
not break on our ear, there are no hedges 
to leap, nor brooks, followed by a flounder 
through a ploughed field ; w T e do not come 
home in a cold drizzle at the end of a 
delightful day, and sit near the fireside, 
wondering whether there will be a frost 
before morning, and whether the mares legs 

2 35 

236 Ladies in the Field. 

will last this season. No, our hunting is 
clone under a bright sun and balmy breezes, 
and, though we miss the prettiness and order 
which accompany a meet in the "auld 
countree," still, there is a rugged beauty 
about our surroundings. The horses are 
well-bred, though many of them not well 
groomed ; the riders are graceful and 
plucky, and the tout ensemble makes a fair 
picture to the lover of horseflesh and 

Well, friends have come together, the 
kangaroo hounds (they are a cross between 
the deerhound and greyhound,) are let 
loose and gambol round the horses, letting 
out short barks of satisfaction as the riders 
mount. Off we go. The country is hilly 
and thickly-wooded, logs lie in all directions, 
but our horses, bred in the district, pick their 
way, and go at a smart canter in and out 
of trees, and jump the logs as they come to 

A low Hist ! from the leader of the chase 
— he is the owner of the station — mounted 
on a thorough-bred bay, the hounds stand a 

A Kangaroo Hunt. 237 

second with pricked up ears, and their heads 
high in the air, for they run by sight ; then 
off they go, and off we go after them. The 
kangaroos, six in number, led by a big " old 
man," spring along at an amazing pace, 
crash goes the brushwood, here and there 
a hound rolls over, making a miss at a log, 
but, in a second, he is up again, straining 
every nerve of his graceful body to reach 
his companions. We are nearing a wire 
fence ; will the kangaroos be caught before 
we come to it ? Tf not, some pretty riding 
will be seen, and British pluck will be needed 
to carry horse and rider over a five-feet fence, 
topped with barbed wire. However, our 
courage is not to be tested this time ; the 
fleetest hound has the " old man' by the 
throat, the rest of the pack come up, and 
in a few moments all is over. A boy skins 
the victim and the tail is cut off, later on 
to make soup. 

Now we have a consultation as to wdiich 
way we shall go. It is getting near luncheon 
time and our host wants us to camp on a 
pretty bend of the river, so we take our 

2^8 Ladies in the Field. 


course in that direction, spreading over a 
good space, and all keeping a good look-out. 

We are ascending a mountain, the way 
is stony, and, as we go along, the scenery 
continually varies. Hill after hill rises before 
us, separated by deep gorges, all thickly 
timbered and abounding in ferns and flower- 
ing shrubs. The magpies warble and the 
thrush whistles its piping note, interrupted 
now and then by the shrill laugh of the jackass. 
But some kangaroos have been sighted, and 
even the most ardent lovers of scenery are at 
once on the alert. 

Up and down hill we go, with many a 
slip and a scramble, horse and rider none 
the worse. The kangaroos rush at a tre- 
mendous speed, some of them carrying a 
young one in their pouch ; one poor beast 
is so hard pressed she throws the young one 
out of her pouch ; it hops away through the 
grass, to be caught later by friendly hands 
and carried home as a pet. No such luck 
for the mother, the hounds are on her and 
she is rolled over, and on they go again in 
pursuit of her fleeter companions. 

A Kangaroo Hunt. 239 

A big fence has scattered them, but one, 
more plucky than the rest, makes a frantic 
spring. Alas ! the quick run has been too 
much for his powers and he gets caught on 
the merciless barbed wire. The foremost 
rider, thinking the kangaroo would clear it, 
is preparing to take the fence in a flying 
leap, but the sight of the kangaroo caught 
makes the horse baulk, and crash they all 
come down together. With a wonderful 
quickness the rider rolls himself away from 
the fallen horse and is helping the animal 
up, both none the w 7 orse, except for a few 
scratches and a good shaking. 

Everyone is now agreed that luncheon 
has been well earned, so we ride and drive 
(for a buggy and pair of ponies have been 
following in our tracks) to a favourite spot. 
And what a sight breaks on our eyes ! We 
are in a valley, with hills towering around 
us, the river makes a sharp bend, along the 
banks are a mass of wattle trees in full bloom, 
the beautiful yellow flowers lighting up the 
dark green leaves and reddish brown bark. 
The sky is cloudless, and a little way off, lies 

240 Ladies in the Field. 

a herd of Devon cattle, quietly chewing the 
cud, and mildly wondering what has brought 
such a large party, evidently bent on play 
instead of work, to their retreat. We see a 
ripple on the still, deep, flowing water, and 
a platypus swims along quickly to his nest 
on the bank. A little lower down we hear 
the whirr of the wild duck, which have been 
disturbed by our coming. 

A fire is soon lighted ; one is told off to 
unpack the basket of good things ; another 
grills some steak, someone else undertakes 
potatoes, the oldest bushman of the lot says he 
will regale us with "Johnnie Cakes." These 
are made of flour and water and a little salt, 
rolled very thin and cooked in the ashes, 
and very good they prove to be ; and last, 
but not least, we make the tea, boiling the 
water in a tin pot and putting the tea into 


In about half an hour our various cooks 
have all ready, and we lie about on the grass 
and satisfy the cravings of hunger. After that 
pipes are lighted and stories go round of 
former exploits, how wild horses have been 

A Kangaroo Hunt. 241 

caught and tamed, how thousands of kangaroos 
have been driven into yards made for the 
purpose and died of suffocation in the crowd ; 
of adventures with wild cattle and blacks, etc., 
etc. More serious subjects, too, are being dis- 
cussed in twos and threes ; for there is some- 
thing quiet and soothing in the scene around, 
that brings to mind memories long forgotten, 
joys and sorrows long past, and amid this 
picture of peace and beauty, friends talk and 
open their hearts to each other, and realise the 
fact that nature can preach a more eloquent 
sermon than is heard from many a pulpit. 
But everything in this world must come to 
an end ; the horses are caught and harnessed 
and we all jog homeward. On the way the 
younger spirits of the party have a gallop 
after stray kangaroos and bring the tails back 
with them as trophies. 

One incident in the last chase may be worth 
mentioning. The kangaroos are bounding 
along-, with the hounds and horsemen close 
behind them. They come to a three rail 
fence of heavy timber ; without a miss the 
kangaroos take it in a flying leap and appar- 


242 Ladies in the Field. 

ently without any extra exertion ; over go 
the hounds, and the horsemen follow to a man, 
then the excitement increases for they are 
coming to a big lagoon ; splash goes a kan- 
garoo into it and now we see a real fight. 
The kangaroo stands up to his neck in the 
water, beating about with his legs, and the 
hounds swim around. A young one, not 
knowing the danger, makes a snap at his 
throat, he is instantly seized in the animals 
arms and his back broken. Poor Daisy ! 
your hunting days have been short and you 
had yet to learn that discretion was the better 
part of valour. The older hounds keep swim- 
ming round, gradually coming nearer, and 
several at once make snaps at different parts 
of the kangaroo. A hand-to- hand fight takes 
place, the kangaroo ripping and wounding 
the hounds with his powerful hind claws ; but 
the plucky beasts keep their hold, and amid 
yelps of rage and pain, the splashing and 
reddening: of the water, and the shouts of the 
huntsmen to encourage the hounds, the victim 
•sinks, after a vigorous struggle for his life. 
As we drive down the mountains the sun 

A Kangaroo Hunt. 243 


is setting, banks of heavy clouds are rising 
tinged with purple, and prophesying a thun- 
derstorm, which is made more sure by the 
distant roar we hear. There is a stillness in 
the air, broken by the cracking of the brush- 
wood and the ominous cry of birds. Sud- 
denly a streak of lightning startles us, fol- 
lowed by a loud crash which echoes round 
and round. We hurry home, and only arrive 
just in time to escape a thorough soaking, 
for the rain comes streaming down. 

Beatrice M. Jenkins. 



By Mrs E. Robins Pennell. 

k ' There should be nothing so much a man's 
business as his amusements." Substitute 
icoman for man, and I, for my part, can- 
not quarrel with Mr Stevenson's creed. 
Our amusements, after all, are the main 
thing in life, and of these I have found 
cycling the most satisfactory. As a good 
healthy tonic, it should appeal to the scru- 
pulous woman who cannot even amuse her- 
self without a purpose; it has elements of 
excitement to attract the more adventurous. 
It is a pleasure in itself, the physical exer- 
cise being its own reward ; it is a pleasure 
in what it leads to, since travelling is the 
chief end of the cycle. That women do not 
yet appreciate it at its true worth, that, as a 
rule, they would still rather play tennis or 
pull a boat than ride a bicycle, is their own 

great loss. 


248 Ladies in the Field. 

Cycling is the youngest of woman's sports. 
It did not come in until the invention of the 
tricycle, or three-wheeled machine; neces- 
sarily it was out of the question for anyone 
wearing skirts, divided or otherwise, to 
mount the tall bicycle, or "ordinary." In 
1878 tricycles, invented at a still earlier 
date, were first practically advertised, and one 
of the authors of the book on cycling in the 
Badminton Library says, that already in that 
year "tradition told of a lady rider, who, in 
company with her husband, made an ex- 
tended tour along the south coast; and in 
quiet lanes and private gardens feminine 
riders began to initiate themselves into the 
pastime." But, despite the courage of their 
pioneer, not until a few years later did they 
desert private lanes for public roads, and 
then it was only in small numbers. Had 
they been more enterprising, a serious hind- 
rance in their way was the fact that at first 
makers refused to understand their require- 
ments. The early tricycles made for us were 
meant to be very ladylike, but they were 
sadly inappropriate. It was really the tandem 

Cycling. 249 

which did most to increase the popularity 
of the sport among women. The sociable, 
where the riders sit side by side, was the 
first of the double machines, but it is an 
instrument of torture rather than of pleasure, 
as whoever has tried to work it knows to his 
or her cost. Its width makes it awkward 
and cumbersome even on good roads, and 
when there is a head wind — and the wind 
always blows in one's face — the treadmill is 
child's play in comparison. The tandem, on 
which, as the name explains, one rider sits 
behind the other, takes up no more space 
than a single tricycle and offers no more 
resistance to the wind, and this means far 
less work. Besides, for many women to have 
a man to attend to the steering and braking, 
in those early days was not exactly a draw- 
back; but even with the tandem progress 
was not rapid. I remember my first ex- 
perience in 1884, when I practised on a 
Coventry "Rotary" in the country round 
Philadelphia, and felt keenly that a woman 
on a cycle was still a novelty in the United 
States. I came to England that same 

250 Ladies in the Field. 

summer, but the women riders whom I met on 
my runs through London and the Southern 
Counties, I could count on the fingers of one 
hand. The Humbers had then brought out 
their tandem, and for it my husband and I 
exchanged our " Rotary," and started off in 
the autumn for Italy, where we rode from 
Florence to Home. I have never made such 
a sensation in my life, and, for my own com- 
fort, I hope I may never make such another : 
I ride to amuse myself, not the public. It 
was clear that Italian women were more 
behindhand than the English or Americans. 
There are, nowadays, more women riders in 
France, probably, than in any country, but 
in the summer of 1885, on the road from 
Calais to Switzerland, by Sterne's route, I was 
scarce accepted as an everyday occurrence. 

Single tricycles improved with every year, 
and the introduction of the direct-steerer, or 
well-known "Cripper' type, assured their 
popularity. More attention being paid by 
makers to women's machines, more women 
were seen on the roads. Then came the great- 
est invention of all, the " Woman's Safety." 

Cycling. 2 5 1 

A certain benevolent Mr Sparrow, had, some 
years before, in 1880 to be accurate, built a 
woman's bicycle, a high one with the little 
wheel in front, something like the American 
"Star"; but the awkwardness of mounting 
and dismounting made it impracticable. 
Men had been riding the dwarf bicycle for 
two or three years before one was introduced 
with a frame that made it as suitable and 
possible for women. How near this brings 
us to the present, is proved by the fact that 
in the Badminton book, published in 1887, 
though there is a chapter on " Tricycling 
for Ladies," there is nothing about bicycling 
for them. I experimented in 1889 with a 
tandem safetv, on which the front seat was 
designed for women, and then the single 
safety, with a dropped instead of a diamond 
frame, was already in the market. But it 
had made slight headway. In America it 
grew more rapidly in favour. The average 
road there is worse than here, and therefore 
the one track — the bicycle's great advantage 
— was much sooner appreciated. Cycling 
for women has never become fashionable in 

252 Ladies in the Field. 

the United States, but, in proportion, a far 
greater number of American women ride, 
and with almost all the safety is the 
favourite mount. In France also the sport 
is more popular with women than in Great 
Britain, and one might almost say that it is 
the safety which has made it so. Biding 
through Prussia, Saxony and Bavaria in the 
summer of 1891, I met but two women 
cyclists, and they both rode safeties. In 
England, however, women, until very re- 
cently, have seemed absurdly conservative in 
this matter ; they clnng to the three wheels, 
as if to do so were the one concession that 
made their cycling proper. A few of the 
more radical — u wild women' Mrs Lynn 
Linton would call them — saw what folly this 
was, and many have now become safety 
riders; but not the majority. Only the 
other day, in Bushey Park, I met a large 
club on their Saturday afternoon run; half 
the members were women, but not one was 
on a bicycle. This, 1 know, is but a single 
isolated instance, but it is fairly typical. 
And yet the safety is the machine of all 

Cycling. 25 


others, which, were my advice asked, I 
would most care to recommend. And I 
would have the wheels fitted with cushion 
tyres — the large rubber tyre with a small 
hole down the centre — or, better still, with 
pneumatics, the tyres that are inflated with 
air. Both deaden vibration. The latter 
necessitate carrying an air-pump and a re- 
pairing kit, for if the rubber be cut or punc- 
tured, as frequently happens, the air, of 
course, escapes at once, and the cut or 
puncture must be mended and the tube 
blown up again, which means trouble. 
But the many improvements introduced 
make the task of repairing easier every 
day. My career as a bicyclist began in 
1891, but, short as it may seem, I think it 
has qualified me to speak with authority. 
For my little Harriot, and Cooper's " Ladies' 
Safety," carried me across Central Europe, 
and as far east as the Roumanian frontier. 
My experience agrees with that of all other 
safety riders, men or women. The chief 
advantage of the machine is, as I have said, 
its one track, but this cannot be over- 

254 Ladies in the Field. 

estimated. Roads must be, indeed, in a 
dreadful condition if space for one wheel 
to be driven easily over them cannot be 
found. The bicyclist can scorch in triumph 
along the tiniest footpath, while the tri- 
cyclist trudges on foot, pushing her three 
wheels through the mud or sand. More- 
over, there is less resistance to the wind, 
and in touring, it is for easier to dispose 
of the small light safety than of the wider 
machine when you put up in a little inn at 
night, or are forced for a time to take the 
train. Many a night in Germany, Austria, 
and Hungary did my bicycle share my bed- 
room with me. 

The chief drawback to the safety is usually 
found in learning to mount and steer. I 
shall be honest, and admit that there is a 
difficulty. The tricycle has the grace to 
stand still while the beginner experiments, 
but the safety is not to be trifled with. 
Sometimes it seems as if a look were enough 
to upset it. Of course, at first, it is well to 
let someone hold and steady it until its 
eccentricities are mastered, for it is entirely 

Cycling. 255 

in the balancing that the trouble lies ; the 
mount in itself is as simple as possible. The 
rider stands to the left of the machine by the 
pedals : taking hold of the handle bars she 
slowly wheels it until the right pedal is at 
the highest point, turns the front wheel a 
little to the right, and puts her right foot 
on the right pedal ; this at once starts the 
machine and raises her into the saddle, 
and as the left pedal comes up, it is caught 
with her left foot. The great thing is to 
have confidence in the machine ; she who 
shows the least fear or distrust is completely 
at its mercy. To dismount is as simple : 
when the left pedal is at its lowest point, 
the right foot is brought over the frame and 
the rider steps to the ground. If a sudden 
stop be necessary, she must put the brake 
on, not too abruptly, or she may be jerked 
out of the saddle. 

The steering is the true difficulty in safety 
riding, and yet it cannot well be taught; it 
must come by practice, with some very 
painful experiences in the coming. The 
obstinacy of the safety seems at first un- 

256 Ladies in the Field. 

conquerable. During my apprenticeship, 
many a time have I been going in a straight 
line with every intention of keeping on in 
it, when, without warning, my safety has 
turned sharply at a right angle, rushed to 
the ditch and deposited me there. But the 
funny part of it is, that the woman who 
perseveres, gradually, she can scarcely ex- 
plain how, gets the better of its self-willed 
peculiarities until she has it under perfect 

The best plan b, in the very beginning, 
to take a few practical lessons. There is 
an excellent teacher to be found at 
Singers' shop, in Holborn Viaduct, where 
a cellar paved with asphalt is kept as a 
school. The beginner would do well to 
practise there until she can at least sit up 
on the machine and balance it a little, and 
until she begins to understand the first 
principles of steering. At this point in 
bicycling education I would urge her to leave 
the schoolroom for the high road. If she 
wait until she is too far advanced on 
asphalt, where the machine goes almost by 

Cycling. 257 

itself, she may have to commence all over 
again on an ordinary road. She should 
learn what is called ankle action from the 
start. Once the cyclist gets into a bad style 
of riding it is hard for her to get out of it; 
and the more the ankle comes into play 
the less strain is there on the muscles 
of the legs. A good rider expends half as 
much energy and makes far better time than 
the woman who has not mastered the art. 
If going up hill be exhausting, why, then it 
is wise to walk. Going down, if the hill be 
long, the brake must be used from the start, 
and to know how to back-pedal is important. 
To back-pedal is to press on the pedal when 
it is coming up instead of when it is going 
down. Nothing could be more dangerous 
than to lose control of a machine on a down 
grade. Some of the most serious accidents 
have been the result of the rider's letting her 
cycle run away with her in coasting. 

I have enumerated the virtues of the 
bicycle, As to its vices, I do not find that 
it has any. An objection often is raised 
against it because, if brought to a stand- 

25S Ladic s in the Field. 

still by traffic or any oilier cause, the rider 
must dismount at once. Bat I do not count 
this a serious hardship ; I have never been in- 
convenienced by it. Again, it is urged that 
the luggage-carrying capacity of the safety is 
small compared to that of the three-wheeled 
machine. This is truer of the woman's than 
of the man's bicycle, since we, poor things, 
must carry our knapsack behind the saddle 
or on the handle bars, while a most delight- 
ful and clever little bag is made by Rendell 
& Under vvood to fit into the diamond frame 
of a man's safety. But, for a short trip, 
actual necessities — that is, a complete change 
of underclothing, a night-dress, and a not 
too luxurious toilet case — can be carried in 
the knapsack slung behind. For a long trip 
it is always advisable to send a largp. bag 
or trunk, according to the individual's wants, 
from one \>\<* town to the next 011 the 

Luggage suggests the subject of dress, as 
important to the woman who cycles as to the 
woman who dances. A grey tweed that defies 
dust and rain alike, makes the perfect gown ; if 

Cycling. 259 

a good, strong waterproof be added, a second 
dress will not be needed. For summer, a 
linen or thin flannel blouse and jacket — per- 
haps a silk blouse, for evening, in the knap- 
sack — and, for all seasons, one of Henry 
Heath's felt hats complete the costume. 
For underwear, the rule is wool next the 
skin, combinations by choice. Woollen stays 
contribute to one's comfort, and each rider 
can decide for herself between knicker- 
bockers and a short petticoat. There is 
something to be said for each. This is 
practically the outfit supplied by the Cyclists 
Touring; Club for its women members. As 
for style, an ordinary tailor-made gown, 
simple rather than elaborate, answers the 
purpose of the bicyclist The bicyclist does 
not get off so easily. Even with a suitable 
dress-guard, and, no matter what the makers 
say, the dress-guard should extend over the 
entire upper half of the rear wheel, there 
is ever danger of full long skirts catching 
in the spokes and bringing the wearer in 
humiliation and sorrow to the ground. 
Many strange and awful costumes have been 

260 Ladies in the Field. 

invented to obviate the clanger — one that is 
skirt without and knickerbockers within; 
another that is nothing more nor less than a 
shapeless bag, when all that is needed is a 
dress shorter and skimpier than usual, with 
hem turned up on the outside, and absolutely 
nothing on the inner side to catch in the 
pedals. Now, the trouble is that for the 
tourist, who carries but one gown, and who 
objects to being stared at as a " Freak" 
escaped from a side show, it is awkward, when 
off the bicycle, to be obliged to appear in 
large towns in a dress up to her ankles; she 
might pass unnoticed in Great Britain, but 
on the Continent she becomes the observed 
of all observers. At the risk of seeminar 


egotistic, I will explain, as I have already 
explained elsewhere, the device by which I 
make my one cycling gown long and short, 
as occasion requires. There is a row of 
safety hooks, five in all, around the waist- 
band, and a row of eyes on the skirt about 
a foot below. In a skirt so provided, I look 
like every other woman when off the 
machine. Just before I mount, I hook it up, 

Cycling. 261 

and 1 wheel off with an easy mind, knowing 
there is absolutely nothing to catch any- 
where. I have read in cycling papers many 
descriptions of other women's bicycling cos- 
tumes, but never yet have I discovered one 
which, for simplicity and appropriateness, 
could compete with mine. # 

On all that concerns touring, it is import- 
ant to dwell, for it is in travelling on the 
road that women must find chief use for their 
cycles, and this they have had the common 
sense to realise. Quite a number belong to 
the Cyclists' Touring Club, and are among 
its more active members. True, a few have 
appeared on the path, have turned the high- 
way into a race course, and occasionally, 
have broken records and done the other 
wonders to which I, personally, attach no 

* Since printing this, a few Englishwomen have appeared 
on the public roads in knickerbockers, and have made, as 
was to be expected, great talk in the cycling press. French- 
women gave them the example ; in France, there is scarce 
a woman bicyclist who has not adopted knickerbockers, or 
else a sort of gymnasium dress. Of the greater comfort and 
safety secured, there can be no question ; the chief draw- 
back to this costume, especially for the toiuist, is its con- 

262 Ladies in the Field. 

value, whether they be performed by men or 
women. Mrs J. P. Fmith, whose husband is 
the manufacturer of the w Invincible " cycles, 
has with him, on his " sociable " and tandem, 
run at several Furrey meetings and in other 
places, and her feats are included in the list 
of the world's records. Mrs Allen of Bir- 
mingham, once rode two hundred miles in 
twenty-four hours. Fraulein Johanne Jor- 
gensen, the woman champion of Denmark, 
is fast breaking the records of her own 
country, and threatens to come over and 
break those of England. The ease with 
which Mrs Preston Davies (wife of the in- 
ventor of the Preston Davies tyre) rode rip 
Petersham Hill, though not exactly a record, 
made quite a little talk among cyclists. 
Miss Peynolds, who rode from Brighten 
to London and back in eight hcuis, is 
the heroine of the day. We have even 
seen a team of women professionals im- 
ported from America only to meet with 
the failnie they deserved. But, fortunately, 
these are the exceptions. I say fortun- 
ately, because, while T am not prudish 

Cycling. 26^ 


enough to be shocked by the mere ap- 
pearance of women on the path, I do not 
think they have the physical strength to 
risk the fearful strain and exertion. If men 
cannot stand it for many years, women can 
still less. Cycling is healthy; to this fact 
we have the testimony of such men as Dr 
Richardson and Dr Oscar Jennings, whose 
books on the subject should be consulted by 
all interested ; especially Dr Jenning's 
" Cycling and Health" since in his chapter 
on " Cycling for Women," he has collected 
together the opinions of leading authorities. 
Like everything else, however, if carried to 
excess, cycling becomes a positive evil. 

Tt can be overdone on the road, but here 
the temptations are not so great. T know 
many women who have toured often and far, 
and are none the worse for it. There are 
few, however, who have taken notable ride?. 
Mrs Harold Lewis of Philadelphia, once, with 
her husband, travelled on a tandem from 
Calais across France and Switzerland, and 
over some of the highest Swiss passes. In 
the Elwell tours from America — a species 

264 Ladies in the Field. 

of personally-conducted tours on wheels — 
women have more than once been in the 
party. But of other long journeys so sel- 
dom have I heard, that sometimes I wonder 
if, without meaning to, I have broken the 
record as touring wheel- worn an. But the 
truth is, that, while every racing event is 
chronicled far and wide in the press, the 
tourist accomplishes her feats without ad- 
vertisement, solely for the pleasure of tra- 
velling by cycle. 

And what stronger inducement could she 
have? Hers is all the joy of motion, not to 
be under-estimated, and of long days in the 
open air; all the joy of adventure and change. 
Hers is the delightful sense of independence 
and power, the charm of seeing the country 
in the only way in which it can be seen ; 
instead of being carried at lightening speed 
from one town to another where the 
traveller is expected and prepared for, the 
cyclist's is a journey of discovery through 
little forgotten villages and by lonely farm- 
houses where the sight-seer is unknown. 
And, above all, cycling day after day and all 

Cycling. 265 

day long will speedily reduce, or elevate, her 
to that perfect state of physical well-being, 
to that healthy animal condition, which in 
itself is one of the greatest pleasures in 

Women have used cycles for other pur- 
poses. Doctors ride them to visit their 
patients, the less serious go shopping on 
them. Clubs have been formed here, and 
more successfully in America. There is at 
least one journalist, Miss Lilias Campbell 
Davidson, who is on the staff of the 
Bicycling Neics and the Cyclists' Touring 
Club Gazette. Put, when all is said, the 
true function of the cycle is to contribute 
to the amusement and not the duties of life, 
and it is in touring that this end is best 


Elizbaeth Robins Pennell. 



By Miss Sybil Salamax. 

That punting is an art, and a very graceful 

one, was borne in upon me late one hot, 

lazy, summer afternoon, while idly musing 

under the verandah of a houseboat on the 

upper Thames, and from that day to this, 

one of my most ardent desires has been to 

become an expert punter. It was in the 

prettiest reach on the river, just above the 

lock, that the houseboat lay. The sun was 

setting behind the trees, and tinting with a 

rosy glow the mist that was creeping up 

from the bank. Perfect peace was over the 

scene, and did not Nature abhor silence as 

much as she does a vacuum, I might almost 

say that silence rested upon the river. But 

birds sang, now and then a fish would jump, 

curl its silver body in the air, and return to 

its watery home with a splash, the mooring 

chains of the houseboat were grating as the 


270 Ladies in the Field. 

river rippled by, and in the distance was 
the hissing sound of the weir. Suddenly 
there came a noisy intrusion, the peaceful- 
ness was disturbed, the air was full of dis- 
cordant voices and the irregular splashes of 
ill-managed oars, for the lock-gates had opened 
and let loose a crowd of noisy, scrambling, 
Saturday half-holiday folk. Happily, they 
soon passed by, and the sound of their 
incongruous chatter and laughter, and inter- 
mittent splashing followed them out of my 
ken, and then all was quiet and peaceful 
again, and I was left gazing dreamily at the 
disturbed fishes darting about in the shallow 
water where the houseboat lay. 

Presently a gentle rippling sound caused 
me to look up. A girl was punting past, 
there was no splashing, no scramble, appar- 
ently no effort. The girl never moved from 
where she stood, only her body swayed back- 
wards and forwards on her pole, easily and 
evenly, and the long straight craft glided by, 
answering to every touch. I hardly realised 
then that this slim, graceful girl was doing 
all the work herself, it looked so easy and 

Punting. 2 7 1 

simple. The water bubbled aloud under the 
bow of the punt, and the girl's shadow floated 
on the water, the red suulight lay like a 
pathway before her, and the ripples seemed 
to part to make way for her as she brought 
her punt steadily along. She made a lovely 
picture, and I watched her as she went down 
the river, in the rising mist and the sunlight, 
marvelling at the straight line she kept, 
watching the monotonous motion of the pole 
rising and falling, and listening almost un- 
consciously for the hollow ring of the shoe 
striking on the hard ground, till a sudden 
bend in the river took her out of sight, 
though, for some time, I still saw the top of 
her pole over the bushes rhythmically rising 
high in the air and disappearing from view. 
From that moment I decided to be a punter 
— this girl was once only a beginner — surely, 
I thought, there was hope for me. 

I need not dwell on all my personal ex- 
periences — there is a great sameness about 
the first efforts of all punters, they all go 
round in circles. But there are certain hints 
which beginners will do well to follow. 

272 Ladies in the Field. 

First of all they must not be discouraged 
by the inevitable clumsiness of their first 
endeavours, the ease and grace of punting 
comes only after much experience. 

To the girl who wishes seriously to become 
a punter, it is far better, having once under- 
stood the principle by which a punt is pro- 
pelled and steered, to go out and struggle 
alone. If someone is always by to take the 
pole from her, should any difficulty arise, she 
will not gain that independence which is so 
absolutely essential to every punter. 

Just a word as to dress. 

A good punter can dress as she pleases, 
but all beginners get wet ; no one can teach 
them how to avoid this until they have 
acquired a certain style. Therefore I should 
recommend a serge skirt, not too long, that 
will stand any amount of water, a loose blouse, 
with sleeves which can unbutton and roll up ; 
shoes with low heels, and, for preference, india- 
rubber soles, as they prevent slipping if the 
punt be at all wet. 

As in rowing and sculling the work in punt- 
ing is distributed all over the body, and does 

Punting. 273 

not only exercise the arm, as so many be- 
ginners imagine. In punting, all the weight 
of the body should be thrown back on the 
pole with the push, which, by the way, should 
never be given until the shoe has gripped 
the ground. This brings into play all the 
muscles of the back, shoulders, and arms, also 
the hips. This upright position is attained 
by swinging the body back on the pole when 
the shoe has gripped the ground, while one 
foot is firmly planted a little in advance, and 
the other leg rests behind with bended knee, 
thus enabling the arms to be kept nearly 
straight and the hands well over the water. 

Punting in this stationary position is 
technically called "pricking." Of the dif- 
ferent styles of punting I shall speak more 
fully later on. 

The greatest difficulty for the beginner is 
to keep the punt straight, but to achieve this 
it is only necessary to be always watching the 
bow of the punt, and to remember that which- 
ever way the top of the pole points, the bow 
will run in the opposite direction. In steering 
there are, practically speaking, two strokes — 


274 Ladies in the Field. 

in one the pole is thrown in away from the 
side of the punt, which brings the bow in 
towards the bank, and in the other the pole 
is dropped in under the bottom of the punt, 
which turns the bow away from the bank. 
A punter, by the way, always punts from the 
side nearest the bank. But the steering should 
not be perceptible, and must never be allowed 
to detract from the strength of the stroke. 
It is effected, as I have said, by the angle 
at which the pole is thrown in, and also by 
the position of the shoe on the ground at the 
finish of the stroke. The direction of a punt 
with " way " on is altered by the slightest 

The very bad habit of steering with the 
pole behind off the ground, using the pole as 
a rudder, is never practised by good punters. 
In very deep water, or in a strong stream, it 
must either break or strain the pole, and it 
is not nearly so quick or effectual a way of 
steering as the proper method I have de- 

There are two ways of punting, known 
respectively as "pricking" and "running." 

Printing. 275 

Roughly speaking "running" is more general 
on the upper river, that is, above Windsor, 
and " pricking" on the shallower and less 
muddy waters of Staines and Sunbury ; 
though "pricking* is much more popular in 
all parts of the river than it was a year or so 
ago — very few people " run ' punts below 
Maidenhead now. 

For "lunning;" all the weight should be in 
the stern. The punter must not go too far 
forward up the bow or she will stop the " way ' 
of the punt. A steady pressure should be 
kept up while walking down the punt once 
the pole is thrown into the water, and a 
strong push given at the finish in the stern. 
If the pressure is too great at the ccmmence- 
ment of the stroke, by the time the stern is 
reached the bow will have run out into the 
stream, so that, at the finish of the stroke, too 
much force has to be used to bring the punt 
in again. This detracts from the speed and 
causes a zig-zag course. As in " pricking," 
there should not be 'too much steering. It 
is impossible, in " running ' ; a punt, to steer 
entirely without the effort being perceptible. 

276 Ladies in the Field. 

Against a strong stream and wind, and with a 
heavy load it is often far easier to "run." 
For "pricking," the punter assumes a station- 
ary position in the stern, about a third of 
the way up the punt and facing the bow. while 
all the weight to be carried is put in front of 

O J- 

the punter. The pole must never be reversed 
to bring the punt in or out, but kept the same 
side, that is, in the shallow water nearest the 
bank. The pole should be thrown in as near the 
side of the punt as possible without scraping it 
each time. This enables the punter to keep 
an upright position, and exert more force than 
if the pole were held far away from the punt. 

A pole is taken out hand over hand, and 
should be recovered in as few movements as 
possible. In racing especially a quick re- 
covery is a very great advantage. It should 
be taken out in two movements in shallow 
water, so that a fast punter would be ready to 
throw in her pole for the next push before a 
punter with a slow recovery had taken her 
pole out of the water. Of course, in very deep 
water, two movements will be found impos- 

Punting. 277 

In an ordinary way, and going up stream, 
the pole is thrown about opposite to with the 
body, but going down, in a very strong stream 
the pole should be thrown in some way in 
advance of the body, otherwise the punter 
loses her grip on the ground in consequence 
of the stream carrying the punt so rapidly on 
that the pole floats uselessly out in the 
stream, and no time is given for the push. 
A punt can be stopped dead by reversing the 
pole — not to the opposite side of the punt, 
but by throwing it in in the opposite direc- 
tion to that in which the punter is pushing. 
A punt is sometimes considered somewhat 
awkward to turn, but the distance of her own 
length is nearly enough in reality if she is 
turned properly ! When the " way ' on her 
is stopped the pole should be thrown in the 
other side, across the deck — the shoe pointing 
a long way off from the punt, so that the 
pole slants right across, the punter facing the 
stern. This stroke repeated once or twice 
will turn a punt almost in her own water. 

When crossing strong streams, the bow 
must be kept well up against the stream, or 

278 Ladies in the Field. 

the current will carry the punt right round. 
In a strong wind the same precaution is 
necessary. It is sometimes easier in much 
wind to push the punt backwards — the stern 
foremost, the punter standing in the bow. 
A punb is nob so much iadaenced by the wind 
with all the weight in front, and is therefore 
easier to keep sbraighb. If the bow is oat of 
the water, it is blown from one side to the 
other, and it is often very ditrbulb to steer. 
la the wash of a stexmer punters should 
keep away from the bank, or the punt may 
be swept on to it, when it will probably ship 

In going over new ground, it is well to be 
prepared for mud or loose shingle. If there 
has been any dredging, the ground is always 
loose, and it is easy to lose one's balance if 
quite unprepared for the ground crumbling 
away under a hard push. The same thing 
takes place with an unexpected deep hole, 
where the pole is flung in and cannot reach 
the bottom. 

If a punter be always prepared for these 
things, there is no danger, but an unthinking 

Punting, 279 

beginner is apt to throw in her pole fiercely, 
and on finding it stuck fast in the mud, she 
will probably fall in herself if she clings to it 
valiantly bub foolishly. Never cling to a pole 
therefore — rather let it go. For this reason, 
or in case of accidentally breaking a pole, 
punters should always carry an extra one in 
the punt. 

Some people have straps on the outside of 
their punts for extra poles, but these are apt 
to be a nuisance in locks, and they spoil the 
trim and neat appearance of a punt. Beware 
of a wooden bottom to a lock, for the shoe of 
the pole may stick fast in the wood and the 
bow of the punt swing round across the lock- 

A punt has one great disadvantage. 

In a look full of boats, perhaps half the 
number of people do not know how to manage 
their own boats, and have not the least idea 
how to get out of the lock. Therefore they 
are apt to dig their boat-hooks into the 
nearest punt, if they can, and expect to be 
towed out. So, while looking out for a 
wooden bottom to the lock, beware also of 

280 Ladies in the Field. 

those "boat-hooks fiends" who do not think 
it nesessary to learn how to manage their 
boats so long as they can splash about with a 
pair of sculls, and trust to a punter guiding 
them safely out of locks. 

Keep the pole between the punt and the 
side of the lock to avoid the greasy sides. 

Double punting, that is two persons punt- 
ing together simultaneously, is very effective 
on the river. To do this the punter may 
stand in various ways, but I consider the best 
is for both punters to stand in the stern, 
almost back to back, one a little in advance of 
the other, to set the stroke. This necessitates 
hardly any steering, for, with a pole on each 
side, the punt will keep itself straight if both 
strokes are of equal strength. In turning, 
the inside one should hold the punt steady, 
while the other pushes — the punt will then 
turn as on a pivot. 

Some people stand at opposite ends of the 
punt, with both poles one side, but I can- 
not recommend this method, because too 
much weight is then thrown on to one side, 
and a punt will not travel well unless properly 

Punting. 281 

balanced. In all double punting little or no 
steering should be required if both work well 
together. But wherever the punters may 
stand, the most important point is to keep 
time — perfect time. This is a sine qua non 
in all good double punting. Nothing looks so 
bad as to see two persons double punting 
when quite regardless as to time. 

Both poles must be recovered together and 
in the same number of movements, otherwise 
it looks a scramble, and the poles appear to 
be of different lengths. 

The principle of steering is, of course, the 
same in double punting as in "pricking" and 
" running," only that here the work is divided, 
the business of one being to bring the bow in, 
the other to take it out. Punters must never 
interfere with each other's stroke, and never 
seem to be waiting. If the last stroke has 
been too strong, so that it has sent the punt 
out of the ordinary course, or not strong 
enough, so that she has run in, the punter 
should not wait till her fellow punter's stroke 
has corrected the fault, but should throw in 
her pole in time with the other, even if no 

2$ 2 Ladies in the Field. 

pressure be required at all, just to keep the 
time. The strongest punter should be at the 
back, if there be any difference. 

Punts vary from the heavy fishing ones 
to the narrow and unsteady racing craft. 
But a useful punt for ordinary work is about 
3 feet wide and 26 feet long;. The seat is 
arranged about 3 to 4 feet from the deck, allow- 
ing just room for the punters to stand. This 
is, of course, intended for " pricking " from the 
stern. A semi-racer, to hold one person be- 
sides the punter, is about 22 inches or 2 feet 
wide, about 27 feet long. A racing punt 
about 16 or 17 inches wide and from 30 to 32 
feet lono*. 

Really the most important item to a punter 
is the pole, though many inexperienced people 
give all their attention to their punts, while 
they think almost any pole will do, in which 
they are very much mistaken. The pole is, 
if anything, more important than the punt 
itself. For my own part, I prefer to any 
other a made pole about 15 or 16 feet long. 
For hard work and Ions; distances this is 
certainly the best. Great attention must be 

Punting. 283 

paid to the .shoe. If the prongs be too close 
they will pick up stones continually, and 
probably split the pole or break. The best 
shoe for ordinary work is shaped something 
like a horse-shoe, but the prongs must not 
incline inwards on account of stones. The 
prettiest and most graceful shoe is one with 
rather long prongs, not too close, made of 
nickle-plated iron. The shoe should always 
be heavy enough for the pole. Poles are 
made of various woods, and steel tubing has 
been tried, but these, however, have not been 
found very practical. Larch poles are apt to 
splinter, red larch are better, but they are 
not very strong, and they are very difficult to 
obtain, while they are seldom quite straight. 
JJamboo poles are very well for a calm river, 
with little or no stream, but they are not 
much use for hard work, they are so light 
that they are always inclined to be top-heavy. 
All bamboos should have very heavy shoes, 
and even then they must be heavily weighted 
in addition, it is almost impossible to got 
them heavy enough at the bottom. A pole 
should sink at once, and not require pushing 

284 Ladies in the Field. 

down. It will be found that a bamboo Las 
to be held down, or it will rise of its own 
account and float out, giving no time for 
the push. They are considered unbusiness- 
like by serious punters. But sometimes at 
regattas they are found useful, The Henley 
course, for instance, is very deep all the way 
along the meadow side, even quite near the 
bank, therefore a long pole is necessary, and 
these are apt to be very tiring and heavy 
when punting all day. A bamboo must never 
be left out in a hot sun when it is wet, or it 
will crack between the joints and when put 
back into the water will fill, so that the water 
runs out over one's hands and arms. But of 
whatever kind the pole may be it must be 
properly balanced, and not top-heavy. The 
lightest punt will not make up for a badly- 
balanced pole. In racing this should be 
remembered. It is customary to " prick' 
from the middle of the punt in racing. A 
stroke called the overhand push is much used 
for speed. After the first push is given, and 
the pole is bent with the chest, without 
moving the back foot, only the heel of the 

Punting, 285 

front one, and, turning the body, a second 
push is given. The advantage of this is that 
the punter is able to push twice without 
taking the pole out of the water, and a longer 
swing of the body is accordingly obtained. 
When women race, they do so in ordinary 
punts, not in racing punts. There are not 
many punting races open exclusively to 
ladies ; in fact, as far as I can ascertain, they 
are only included in the programmes of the 
regattas at Goring and Streatly, at Wargrave 
and at Cookham, and the Thames Ditton and 
Hampton Court Aquatic Sports. At the 
Maidenhead and Taplow Town Eegatta there 
is a Lady's and Gentleman's Double Punting 
Race, and there is some talk of a Ladies' 
Punting Championship competition being in- 
augurated at Maidenhead. 

In spite of the paucity of punting races 
for ladies, however, there are several ladies 
in various parts of the Thames whose style 
and speed have won for them something 
more than local renown. For instance, at 
Staines, there are Mrs Hamilton, Miss Kilby 
and Mrs George Hunter ; at Maidenhead, 

286 Ladies in the Field. 

Miss Ethel Lumley and Miss Annie Benning- 
field ; at Bray, Miss Maud Lumley ; at Hamp- 
ton, Miss D. Hewitt, who in '91 won the 
Ladies' Punting Competition at the Hampton 
Court and Thames Ditton Aquatic Sports. 
In addition to these, there is Mrs Sharratt of 
Surly Hall Hotel, better known, perhaps, as 
Miss Ada Morris, the daughter of the lock- 
keeper at Bray, who has the reputation of 
being one of the best punters, if not the best, 
on the Thames. Some people punt Canadian 
canoes, but this, though pretty w r hen well done, 
does not come under the heading of serious 

The practice of paddling punts is often 
indulged in on crow T ded courses, such as Henley 
in the regatta week, but this T need hardly 
say is never done by good punters. Even 
there it is far better to use a long pole. 

In conclusion, I think I may say that there 
is no prettier sight on the w^tole river than a 
girl, neatly dressed, punting well and grace- 
fully ; but, like riding, it is an exercise which 
must be done well. A hot-looking girl 
struggling with her pole is a spectacle that 

Punting. 287 

must excite anything but admiration from 
cither the river or the bank. Good style and 
ease, so important in punting, come only after 
much practice. 

Sybil Salaman. 




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